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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, July 31st (All times Eastern)
Cincinnati Reds (59-49) at San Diego Padres (50-58), 3:40 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Homer Bailey (5-10, 3.77) San Diego - Eric Stults (8-9, 3.65)
(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Reds try to avoid their longest losing streak in over two years on Wednesday afternoon when they wrap a three-game series versus the San Diego Padres.
The Reds have lost the first two contests of this series and five in a row overall to match a season high. They haven't dropped six straight contests since May 18-23, 2011.
Cincinnati has been outscored 13-5 over its current slide and score more than one run in a game for the first time in that stretch in Tuesday's 4-2 setback. The Reds are now a season-high six games out of first place in the NL Central, but still hold the league's second wild card by four games.
Jay Bruce drove in a run and also scored once, while Mat Latos yielded two runs over six innings for a no-decision.
The Reds are 4-6 on an 11-game road trip.
"We get runners on and we can't push them over or across," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We get runners on late, but can't move them.
While Cincinnati is losing ground in the NL Central, San Diego is trying to dig itself out of a sizeable hole to get back into contention. The Padres have won four straight and nine of their last 13 to pull within eight games of .500 at 50-58. They are also 8 1/2 games back of first place in the NL West.
Nick Hundley connected on a go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth inning on Tuesday, while Dale Thayer worked a scoreless 1 1/3 innings to earn the win. Huston Street stranded a runner in the ninth to secure his 20th save of the season.
Will Venable went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI for the Padres, who are on their longest winning streak since taking a season-high seven straight from June 10-17.
"We talk about it all the time. Good pitching and timely hitting, and today our pitchers did a nice job all the way through the game," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We got a couple of big swings early and then the real big one late from Nick (Hundley). That's what it comes down to, a very clutch hit late in the game."
Black will hold outfielder Carlos Quentin out of the lineup today after the slugger exited in the sixth inning with a knee injury. He is hitting .321 with eight homers and 28 RBI since June 1 and will get two days of rest due to an off day tomorrow.
First, the Padres will try to sweep the Reds in three games for the first time since May 15-17, 2009 and take their swings today against the struggling Homer Bailey.
Bailey again seeks his first victory since his no-hitter versus San Francisco on July 2 and could use a little run support as well. The Reds have not scored more than three runs in any of Bailey's past eight starts, getting shut out twice, and the right-hander is getting just 3.38 runs of support per game.
Bailey has a 4.68 earned run average over a four-start losing streak since hurling his second career no-hitter, but pitched well enough to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers. Problem was, Bailey was up against Clayton Kershaw and a two- run homer he allowed to Hanley Ramirez in the sixth inning was the difference in a 2-1 decision.
"Other than that one pitch, I felt good," Bailey said. "It was a good pitch, a curveball down and he went down and got it. Hanley's hot right now."
The 27-year-old is 5-10 with a 3.77 ERA in 21 starts this season, including a 2-8 mark and 4.52 ERA in 11 outings on the road.
Bailey will try to remain undefeated in his career versus the Padres, having gone 4-0 with a 4.30 ERA in seven previous meetings. He has won both of his career starts at Petco Park.
Run support has also been an issue for Padres starter Eric Stults, who takes the mound today having received just 3.05 runs of support per outing over 22 starts, one of the lowest totals in baseball.
It didn't matter last time out for Stults, who yielded seven runs -- five earned -- on a season-high 11 hits over five innings of a 10-0 setback in Arizona on Friday. He dropped to 8-9 with a 3.65 ERA on the year following his second straight road loss.
"I didn't give us a chance to win from the start," Stults admitted.
The 33-year-old lefty is 5-1 with a 2.45 ERA in nine starts at home and has never lost to the Reds. In four previous meetings, including one start, he is 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA.
07/31 11:38:13 ET
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