Cincinnati (3-7) failed once again to post consecutive wins and could not support another strong outing from Johnny Cueto (0-2). Over seven innings, Cueto allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts, but did have four walks. So far this season he has only allowed four runs in 21 innings (2.14 ERA). The problem for Cueto was that David Price (2-0) stifled the Reds bats over 8.1 innings with 10 strikeouts and just one walk.
The first inning looked as though the Rays (6-5) might put together a big inning when Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce walked. Tampa Bay would cross the plate first when Evan Longoria singled in Jennings, but Cueto settled in and retired the next two hitters to end the threat. The Rays added another in the third when Joyce homered to deep right.
Cincinnati had great opportunities in the third and fourth when Devin Mesoraco and Brandon Phillips doubled to start their respective innings. Mesoraco would be stranded at third by Billy Hamilton, and Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce struck out before Todd Frazier flew out to strand Phillips at second.
After Cueto coasted through the rest of his final four innings, Sam LeCure and Jonathan Broxton each tossed a scoreless inning to keep the Reds within striking distance.
Rays manager Joe Madden elected to keep Price in the game going into the ninth and he was on his way to a complete game after striking out Phillips, when Joey Votto sent one of Price's offerings into the left field to cut the lead to one.
Grant Balfour came in for his third save, but it didn't come easily. He started by striking out Ludwick, but walked the bases loaded for pinch hitter Brayan Pena. With a chance to tie or win the game, Pena instead watched strike three go by and seal the victory for the Rays.
Alex Cobb (0-1, 3.00 ERA) will take the ball against Alfredo Simon (1-0, 1.29 ERA) who is making his second start in place of Mat Latos. Latos had his rehab hit a bump in the road when he was scratched from his Triple-A start on Tuesday and had discomfort in his bullpen session of Friday. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.