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W:C.Friedrich(2-1) L:J.Cueto(5-2) S:R.Betancourt (8)
HR: COL- T.Helton (5) CIN- None
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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, May 25th (All times Eastern)

Colorado Rockies (16-27) at Cincinnati Reds (25-19), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Colorado - Chris Friedrich (1-1, 5.00) Cincinnati - Johnny Cueto (5-1, 1.97)

(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Reds enter the holiday weekend in sole possession of first place in the National League Central Division and they host the visiting Colorado Rockies tonight to begin a three-game set at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds, who were 11-11 in April, improved to 14-8 in May and won their season-high sixth straight game Thursday, completing a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 6-3 victory.

Devin Mesoraco belted his first career grand slam as Cincinnati swept four from Atlanta at home for the first time in 32 years -- the last time coming in April 1980 and the since-demolished Riverfront Stadium.

Drew Stubbs added a solo home run for the Reds, while Homer Bailey (3-3) allowed four hits in six innings of work.

Cincinnati leads defending world champion St. Louis by a half-game in the Central after the Cardinals dropped a 10-9 decision to visiting Philadelphia last night to open a four-game series.

St. Louis had led the division by a half-game entering Thursday.

The Reds send early-season ace Johnny Cueto to the mound looking for his sixth win in seven decisions.

The 26-year-old Dominican, who prevailed nine times in 24 starts last season, won his first four of 2012 before lasting just four innings in a 6-2 loss to the Braves in Atlanta on May 15.

He rebounded with seven innings of two-run ball in a 5-2 interleague win over New York at Yankee Stadium in his most recent start five days later, walking two batters, striking out five and scattering eight hits.

In 59 1/3 innings across nine starts, Cueto has surrendered 55 hits and 13 earned runs while racking up 38 strikeouts.

The Reds are 7-2 in games he's pitched.

The Rockies counter with 24-year-old lefty Christian Friedrich, a first-round draft choice in 2008 -- 25th overall -- who'll make his fourth career start.

The Evanston, IL native debuted with consecutive road starts at San Diego and San Francisco in early May and combined to allow just 11 hits and two earned runs in 13 innings while earning a win and a no-decision.

He was dinged up for eight runs on nine hits in just five innings of his most recent outing, however, taking a 10-3 loss to Seattle in his Coors Field debut.

Friedrich struck out just three Mariners after recording seven and 10 strikeouts against the Padres and Giants.

On Wednesday in Miami, Troy Tulowitzki smacked two hits, including a three-run home run in a game-deciding four-run fifth inning, to go with four RBI and two runs scored as the Rockies snapped a six-game skid with an 8-4 win over the Marlins to end a three-game set.

Carlos Gonzalez added two hits, two RBI and a pair of runs scored for Colorado, which had lost 10 of 12. Alex White (1-3) surrendered four runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings.

"We'd like to see things unfold in the manner in which it did tonight for the next several days," manager Jim Tracy said. "We have a couple of great innings tonight."

Colorado took four of seven from the Reds last season.

05/25 10:33:03 ET