CINCINNATI — Danny Salazar handled the top of Cincinnati’s batting order. It was the bottom that caught up with him.
Zack Cozart hit a three-run homer off the left-field foul pole, Kristopher Negron added a two-run shot and the Cleveland Indians opened a five-game road trip with an 8-3 loss to the Reds on Wednesday night.
Mat Latos pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and chipped in with a hit as the Reds picked up their third win in four games.
The top four batters in Cincinnati’s order were a combined 0-for-8 against Salazar (4-3), who gave up the homers to Cincinnati’s seventh- and eighth-place hitters.
“Overall, he was better than his line score,” manager Terry Francona said. “He made two costly mistakes to the bottom of the order.”
Latos (4-3), making his 10th start since opening the season on the disabled list and being activated on June 14, allowed just one runner past second base before Yan Gomes led off Cleveland’s three-run eighth with his 16th homer.
“He leverages the ball downhill and gets strike one,” Francona said about Latos. “Once he can do that, he can use both halves of the plate.”
Ryan Raburn chased Latos with a pinch-hit, two-run double.
Latos gave up six hits and three runs with two walks and five strikeouts in 7⅔ innings.
Cozart, who hadn’t homered since June 1 at Arizona, connected off Salazar with two outs in the second. Cozart’s third homer of the season was the first allowed by Salazar in five starts since May 15 at Toronto.
“I didn’t throw too many pitches today,” Salazar said, assessing his outing. “I left a couple of balls a little high. I was trying to throw a slider down-and-away (to Cozart). I just missed my spot.”
Negron made it 5-0 with a two-out drive in the fourth. The homer was his third of the season, all since being called up from Triple-A Louisville on July 10.
Salazar lasted four innings and his winning streak was snapped at a career-high three. He allowed five hits and five runs with five strikeouts.
The Reds broke open the game with a three-run seventh that started with Negron’s double for his first career three-hit game. Cozart hit an RBI single, Latos followed with a single and Todd Frazier added a two-run double.
Salazar was optioned to Triple-A Columbus following the game. Right-handed pitcher C.C. Lee was recalled from Columbus.
Bryan Pena extended his hitting streak to 11 games with two singles. He is one game short of his career high.
Indians: Center fielder Michael Bourn went 0-for-3 with one strikeout in five innings for Double-A Akron in the first game of his rehab assignment Tuesday. He has been out since July 6 with a left hamstring strain.
Reds: Right-handed reliever Logan Ondrusek threw his first long toss and bullpen session since he went on the disabled list on July 22 because of a strained right shoulder. He will throw another bullpen on Friday or Saturday and be reassessed, manager Bryan Price said.
Indians: Left-hander T.J. House will become the second straight Cleveland pitcher to face Cincinnati for the first time in his career. The Indians have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak.
Reds: Right-hander Homer Bailey will try to even his career record against the Indians at 3-3 in eight starts in today’s series finale. The Reds have won seven straight over Cleveland in Cincinnati since a 3-1 loss on July 2, 2011.
WHO: Cleveland vs. Cincinnati
WHERE: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
PITCHERS: House (1-2, 4.09 ERA) vs. Bailey (8-5, 3.89)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM