Mike McDadehit a three-run double with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning for the Indians, who followed a 94-loss season by hiring Francona and spending nearly $120 million on free agents.
Joey Votto singled in his first two at-bats for Cincinnati, which took a 10-8 lead into the ninth. The 2010 NL MVP reported to training camp healthy after missing 48 games in 2012 following two arthroscopic surgeries on his left knee.
Ryan Hanigan had a two-run double for the Reds, Miguel Olivo hit a solo homer and Devin Mesorocco belted a two-run shot.
The Reds and Indians meet Saturday afternoon with Alfredo Simon getting the start for Cincinnati. Coverage begins at 2 35pm with the Royal Shell Vacations Inside Pitch on 700 WLW.