Reds starter Cueto exits game after eight pitches

Reds starter Cueto exits game after eight pitches
October 7, 2012, 1:57 am
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UPDATE: (7:15 p.m.) -- The Reds announced Johnny Cueto left early because of back spasms.

Game 3 starter Mat Latos began warming up in the bullpen in the second inning.

SAN FRANCISCO Johnny Cueto became Johnny Drama just eight pitches into Game 1 of the NL Division Series Saturday night.

The Reds 19-game winner came off the mound flailing his arm like a rag doll after throwing a strike to Marco Scutaro. He didnt attempt to throw another pitch, as right-handed reliever Sam LeCure entered the game.

And suddenly, the Giants gained a massive advantage in this series pitting two teams that got here because of their unbelievably stable rotations.

Cueto had struck out Angel Pagan on six pitches and appeared to be fine before his second offering to Scutaro. Mat Latos, the Game 3 starter, began stretching his arm in the Reds dugout but at least to escape the first inning, Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker went to his bullpen.

The Reds had planned to bring back Cueto on short rest for Game 4, too. Now it appears theyll turn to Homer Bailey, if necessary. Thats no great shame; Baily threw a no-hitter in his second to last start of the regular season.

No official injury has been announced for Cueto, who appeared to shorten his delivery as if he had a muscle strain in his back or side.

Meanwhile, Matt Cain threw a 1-2-3 top of the first inning, aided by an incredible catch in which first baseman Brandon Belt toppled over the rail and fell into a luxury suite. LeCure preserved the scoreless tie in the bottom of the inning.

Cueto, 26, was 19-9 and ranked third in the NL with a 2.78 ERA while making all 33 starts. he pitched a career-high 217 innings. The Giants and Reds this season are just the eighth and ninth teams in major league history and the first since the 2006 Chicago White Sox to receive at least 30 starts from five different starting pitchers.

Check back for more on Cuetos injury. Once we have more information, well update this story.

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