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Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto hits the go ahead two-run home run off Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Nick Hagadone in the eighth inning during a baseball game, Monday, in Cincinnati. The Reds won 4-2.

Votto’s HR in 8th lifts Reds over Indians 4-2

CINCINNATI – The Indians’ suddenly struggling bullpen wasted a good start by Ubaldo Jimenez.

Joey Votto hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning off of left-hander Nick Hagadone and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Monday in the opener of their intrastate matchup.

Hagadone (0-1) was called up from Triple-A earlier in the day when closer Chris Perez was put on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder. The bullpen has lost three games in a row for Cleveland.

“Hagadone has great stuff,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “We wanted him to pound Votto inside and not let him get his arms extended. It is part of the learning experience but a pitcher has to pitch to his comfort zone.”

Shin-Soo Choo led off the Reds’ eighth with a single and moved around on a passed ball and Zack Cozart’s sacrifice bunt. Votto followed with an opposite-field shot into the seats in left.

Choo, traded from the Indians to the Reds in the offseason, also hit a leadoff homer in the first.

“Jimenez was tremendous,” Francona said. “He gave up the home run just trying to get ahead. Then he settled down.”

It was the first time Jimenez faced Choo, his former teammate.

“I was trying to go after hitters and that’s what I did,” Jimenez said. “Choo hit a two-seam fastball that came back to him. If you get the ball in the air here, it has a chance to go out.”

Jason Giambi tied it in the Indians’ eighth with a long pinch-hit homer. The solo shot was estimated at 467 feet and caromed off the batter’s background in center field. His ninth career pinch-hit homer ended his 0-for-24 slump and was third homer of the season and first since April 20.

“I’ve had a pinched nerve in my neck,” Giambi said. “It felt good to contribute but I’d trade it all for a win. Terry (Francona) told me to just keep battling. It made me feel good that the manager showed confidence in me.”

Jonathan Broxton (2-1) got two outs in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

Reds starter Mike Leake one earned run and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, striking out seven. He left with a no-decision after giving up Giambi’s homer.

Ubaldo Jimenez gave up four hits and two runs in seven innings.

Choo, sent to the Reds with infielder Jason Donald and cash for outfielder Drew Stubbs and infielder Didi Gregorius in December, led with his 10th homer of the season.

The Indians took advantage of an error by another former Indians player, Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips, to tie it in the fourth.

Jason Kipnis singled and took third when Phillips mishandled Nick Swisher’s grounder. Carlos Santana’s sacrifice fly made it 1-all.

Cozart led off the sixth with a double that just nicked the outside of the left-field line, advanced on Votto’s groundout to second and scored on Phillips’ sacrifice fly.

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

For the second straight day the Reds were involved in a verbal battle over tight pitches. Johnny Cueto prompted an umpires warning on Sunday for a pitch that sailed far over the Cubs’ David DeJesus’ head.

After Chapman struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to start the ninth, he threw a fastball by Nick Swisher high and away to the backstop. The second pitch was up and in with Swisher spinning quickly out of the way.

The Indians bench jumped up in unison.

“The first one hit the backstop and I thought `Man that’s quick,”’ Swisher said. “The second was too close to my head. That’s not good. The bench jumped up and showed me they had my back.”

Francona wasn’t pleased with it either.

“I just think it was probably too close to his head,” Francona said. “I just think it shook him up a bit. Swisher’s one of our leaders. We have to show him that we have his back.”

Giambi was on the same page.

“God blessed Chapman with an unbelievable arm,” Giambi said. “The first one was to the backstop. I’ve talked to him several times. He’s a great kid. I don’t think was anything to it but we have to let Swisher know we have his back.

Swisher ran past the mound after he flied out deep to leftfield.

“I forgot what I said,” said Swisher, who pointed out his wife is Cuban.

NOTES: The Reds improved to 40-42 in their interleague series with the Indians. ... The sellout crowd was the fourth straight for the Reds, the second time they’d had four consecutive sellout crowds since moving from Crosley Field in 1970 and the first time since 2004. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos (4-0) will try to stay undefeated in the second game of the brief two-game series on Tuesday before the teams meet two more times in Cleveland. He’ll face by Cleveland RHP Zach McAllister (4-3).

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