DENVER - Alfredo Simon was an All-Star, the top winner on the Reds' pitching staff in the first half of the season and a savior coming out of the bullpen into the rotation when Mat Latos had knee surgery.
Now, though, the erstwhile reliever looks like he ran out of gas four weeks ago.
Simon (12-8) is 0-5 since the All-Star break after losing to the Rockies 7-3 Thursday night. He allowed seven runs - five earned and two unearned on his own throwing error - and a season-high 10 hits in five innings.
"He made some mistakes and they hit it hard," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It's just a matter of executing better pitches and having a better mix of pitches."
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Ryan Ludwick broke an 0-for-13 streak with an RBI double in the second and added a solo homer in the sixth that landed near the top of the stands in left. It was his first homer since July 10.
"Today, I just happened to think along with him," Ludwick said. "Lucky guess."
The Reds (60-61) are sinking fast in the NL Central - 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers. The Rockies (47-74) and Rangers are tied for the worst record in baseball.
Charlie Culberson hit his first homer in more than a month - a three-run shot in the fifth - and Jorge De La Rosa pitched seven effective innings to lead the Rockies.
Culberson broke the game open by lacing a 95 mph fastball from Simon into the left-field bleachers. It was his first homer since June 29.
The shortstop also showed some nifty moves in the field by sidestepping a piece of Todd Frazier's shattered bat to field the ball and throw out Frazier by a few steps.
De La Rosa tweaked his Achilles running to first in the second inning, but he came back out to pitch and didn't miss a beat.
The lefty has now gone at least six innings in 10 straight starts.
Charlie Blackmon broke a 2-all tie in the fourth when he drove in a run on a groundout. Ex-Red Drew Stubbs followed with an RBI single. Both runs were unearned after Simon threw the ball away trying to turn a double play.
CARGO DONE FOR SEASON
Shortly after the game, the Rockies announced that outfielder Carlos Gonzalez will have season-ending surgery on his left knee Monday. It's been an injury-riddled year for Gonzalez, who is on the disabled list with not only an aching left knee but a sprained right ankle.
He was out earlier this season after doctors found and removed a small tumor in his left index finger.
The Rockies are already without star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who will undergo season-ending hip surgery Friday.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey is headed to the disabled list with a strained elbow. Manager Bryan Price said he will announce a starter to take Bailey's spot in the rotation Friday. There's no timetable for Bailey's return.
Rockies: OF Michael Cuddyer (broken left shoulder) could be back in the lineup Saturday. The reigning NL batting champ has been on the DL since early June.
Reds: RHP Johnny Cueto (14-6, 2.05 ERA) can take over the NL lead in wins by beating the Rockies on Friday. Cueto is 6-0 in seven starts since losing at San Diego on July 2.
Rockies: LHP Franklin Morales (5-6, 4.97) will make his first career start against the Reds. He's faced them five times as a reliever, going 2-0 with two saves.