CINCINNATI (AP) Johnny Cueto looked and felt more like himself Thursday.Cueto and dual relievers made a pair of first-inning runs stand up and a Cincinnati Reds salvaged a split of their four-game series opposite a Colorado Rockies with a 2-1 win.Cueto, who blamed bad duck wings for an upset stomach while pitching a season-low 3 2-3 innings in his last start at Wrigley Field, bounced back to throw three-hit ball for seven shutout innings. He took over a NL ERA lead, lowering his mark from 2.06 to 1.94."I didn't have any wings today," Cueto said. "I felt strong. I have been working hard to get better."Cueto (8-5) struck out a season-high nine, including Carlos Gonzalez with a bases loaded to end a fifth inning, walked dual and hit a batter. He missed a initial month of a season with soreness in his upper right arm, qualified for a ERA lead with this outing.The fifth-inning jam was a only trouble for Cueto. He got dual outs on six pitches prior to pitcher Jhoulys Chacin singled. Dexter Fowler singled and Mark Ellis walked to bring Gonzalez to a plate."Johnny was dealing," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He had an easy inning going but he made a mistake to their pitcher, that put him in trouble. It cost him another 15-20 pitches or he could have gone farther."In a past, those bumps upset Cueto more than a bad duck wings. But a maturing right-hander is getting better at handling those situations."I was concentrating on not overthrowing to get myself out of danger," pronounced Cueto, who has become Cincinnati's ace.Said Baker: "He's still learning. He's pitching well while he's learning but he learned today that every batter counts, preventing a lineup from turning over is important."Aroldis Chapman allowed a initial dual Rockies to reach in a eighth prior to getting Gonzalez to ground into a double play and distinguished out Eliezer Alfonzo. Francisco Cordero allowed Seth Smith's 12th home run of a season leading off a ninth, then earned his 22nd save in 27 chances.Chacin (9-9) was almost as effective fo! r Colora do, restraining his season tall with nine strikeouts while allowing six hits and dual runs in eight innings. He fell to 1-5 over his last 10 starts despite finishing with a flourish, distinguished out a side in eighth.The Reds took a 2-0 lead with a two-out, four-hit detonate in a initial opposite Chacin, who went into a diversion limiting opposing batters to a league-low .208 batting average.Joey Votto lined a double off a left-field wall and scored on Jay Bruce's single up a middle. Bruce moved up on Ramon Hernandez's single and took third on Drew Stubbs' infield single to third baseman Chris Nelson, whose errant throw to initial allowed a run to score."(Cueto's) very good," Chacin said. "When you face him, you know it's going to be a close game. What's more frustrating is getting a initial dual outs and then allowing four hits and dual runs."NOTES: Bruce went 6 for 14 in a series with dual home runs and six RBIs. ... A pitcher needs one inning for each of his team's games to qualify for a ERA title. This was a Reds' 118th game, and Cueto reached that threshold on Jonathan Herrera's groundout in a fifth. It's a third time in Cueto's last three starts that he's qualified for a lead, only to later become a non-qualifier. ... Despite his eight-game attack streak, Colorado SS Troy Tulowitzki did not start. "He came to me (Tuesday) and pronounced his legs were starting to feel a little heavy," manager Jim Tracy said. "We wanted to be proactive. If not, you risk pushing a guy." Tulowitzki later pinch-hit. ... Alfonzo batted higher than sixth for a initial time this season in nine starts. ... Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo will be looking for his initial win in eight starts since beating a Orioles at Baltimore on June 25 when he starts Friday night at home opposite San Diego. ... Colorado RHP Aaron Cook is 1-4 in his career opposite a Cardinals going into his start Friday at St. Louis. ... Red 2B Brandon Phillips missed his second consecutive start with a left elbow still sore and swollen from being hit by a pitch o! n Tuesda y. He refused to take a cortisone shot, he pronounced prior to a game. "If they have to stick me to play, it's just more reason I shouldn't be playing," he said.