CINCINNATI — Mike Leake used the recent trade talk as motivation.
The right-hander pitched six effective innings and drove in three runs as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Cleveland Indians 6-1 on Friday night.
“It is more likely that I’ll be traded than stay,” Leake said. “It (stinks) that we’ve had the season we did but if I am traded, I’m eager to pitch for a winner.”
Marlon Byrd had a homer among his four hits and Joey Votto added a solo shot for the Reds, who lost their last two games and three of four before the All-Star break.
“I took some dry swings over the break,” Byrd said. “I was swinging pretty well before the break. I am just trying to keep it going.”
Leake (7-5), who can become a free agent after the season and is considered by many to be trade bait for the struggling Reds, allowed one run and four hits with two walks and two strikeouts while improving to 4-1 over his last six starts.
“I don’t think about being traded when I’m on the mound,” Leake said. “I’m just trying to give these guys all I’ve got like I have for six years. It is more of a motivator.”
Ryan Mattheus, J.J. Hoover and Burke Badenhop all pitched one scoreless inning in relief for Cincinnati.
Trevor Bauer, who had won his last two starts, lasted just four innings for a Cleveland team that has lost three straight after a four-game winning streak. Bauer (8-6) allowed seven hits and five runs with two walks and five strikeouts.
Byrd hit his 15th homer of the season with one out in the second, a 346-foot opposite-field shot into the seats in right field. That was the first of three consecutive hits, a rally capped by Leake’s RBI squeeze bunt.
“The first inning, I felt pretty good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He had a good cutter, the best cutter I’ve seen him have this season, but then he started falling behind. They scored a run with some old-school small ball, and he started working behind more. It wasn’t his best night after that.”
Leake pushed the lead to 4-0 in the third with a ringing, bases-loaded double that one-hopped the wall in right-center.
Votto added his 16th homer with one out in the fourth, a 418-foot drive to center that glanced off the bottom of the batter’s eye.
The Indians put at least one runner on base in all of but one of Leake’s six innings, but they couldn’t push one past second until the sixth. Francisco Lindor led off with a single and went to third on Michael Brantley’s double, setting up Carlos Santana’s run-scoring groundout.
Indians: LHP Nick Hagadone is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his elbow injury, Francona said. Hagadone, who originally went on the DL on July 7 with a lower back injury, left a rehab appearance with Single-A Mahoning Valley on Wednesday with discomfort in his elbow.
Reds: LHP Tony Cingrani pitched five scoreless innings against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday in the fourth appearance and third start of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. Cingrani, out since June 15 with shoulder problems, has logged 14 shutout innings with the Bats, allowing six hits and six walks with 18 strikeouts.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (4-10, 3.38 ERA) will try to match or surpass his last start against Cincinnati in Saturday’s middle game of the series. The reigning Cy Young Award winner allowed nine hits but just one run in eight innings of a 2-1 win on May 23.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (5-6, 3.65) was the hard-luck loser in that May 23 game at Cleveland. The rookie gave up three hits and one run with two walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.