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Reds 5, Angels 4

The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Reds got solo home runs from Shin-Soo Choo and Todd Frazier, and a two-run blast by Chris Heisey, then held on for a 5-4 win over the Angels on Thursday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton broke out of season-opening slumps for the Angels, going a combined 2-for-8 with four RBI, but neither could drive home the tying run in the ninth against Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

Mike Trout singled off Chapman to start the final inning and was sacrificed into scoring position by Erik Aybar, who went 3-for-4 with a run scored. But Chapman retired Pujols on a line drive to right and struck out Hamilton swinging to earn his first save, after having appeared in non-save situations in the first two games of the series.

Cincinnati pitchers struck out 35 Angels in the three-game set, a new franchise record.

Blanton (0-1) gave up five runs, four of which were earned, in five innings to take the loss. All of the runs came from three Cincinnati home runs.

Bronson Arroyo (1-0) earned the victory, as he allowed three earned runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings.

Choo went 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored for the Reds. He jumped on Blanton's first pitch and launched an opposite-field shot to put the Reds ahead 1-0. Frazier led off the second with a line-drive homer to left, making the score 2-0.

Pujols and Hamilton, who were a combined 0-for-17 with five strikeouts to start the season, finally broke through in the third.

Following Aybar's single, Pujols doubled and Hamilton singled to drive in both runners. Choo's throw beat Pujols to the plate, but Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan missed the tag, tying the score at 2.

Frazier doubled off the yellow line in left-center field in the fourth and went to third on Mike Trout's error. A video review confirmed it wasn't a homer. He scored moments later on Hanigan's sacrifice fly to give the Reds a 3-2 lead.

The Angels re-tied the score in the fifth, but Heisey put Cincinnati up 5-3 with a two-run shot off Blanton, who allowed three or more homers for the ninth time in his career.

NOTES: Choo's homer was his sixth career leadoff home run. ... Reds lefty Sean Marshall is battling shoulder fatigue and wasn't available for the entire series. He told the Cincinnati Enquirer Thursday that he was "a day or two away" from making his first appearance. ... Angels catcher Hank Conger started behind the plate Thursday. It was a normal day of rest for Chris Iannetta who's 3-for-9 with a homer and three RBI in the series. ... Thursday's game was the 20,000th in Reds franchise history, which officially dates to 1882.

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