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                  === Reds go for series win over D'backs ===
 
 (Sports  Network) - The Cincinnati Reds hope Thursday's series finale with the
 Arizona  Diamondbacks goes  a lot smoother than the previous game when the two
 playoff-hungry clubs close a four-game set at Great American Ball Park.
 
 The  Reds took a  2-1 edge in this series with Wednesday's 10-7 win and nearly
 squandered  an  8-0 lead, allowing the  Diamondbacks to battle back with seven
 runs  to close the gap. Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips each had RBI hits in
 the  eighth inning  to give Cincinnati some breathing room over the D'backs in
 the wild card race at six games.
 
 Cincinnati, which sits atop the wild card standings with St. Louis and is just
 2  1/2 games off the pace in the NL Central, received a big game from Shin-Soo
 Choo  and  four players finished  with multiple hits.  Choo led the bunch with
 four,  including a home run, drove in three runs and scored three times. Devin
 Mesoraco was 2-for-4 with two runs batted in.
 
 Reds  starter Mike Leake  went six innings, yielding four runs on six hits for
 the  win, and closer Aroldis Chapman struck out two over two scoreless innings
 to pick up his 32nd save.
 
 "It  was  a tough one," Leake  said. "Being up 8-0  and then ending up being a
 stressful game, it stinks. But at least we came out ahead."
 
 Cincinnati,  owners of a  9-4 record in a stretch of 20 straight days, has won
 11  of its  last 15  games and  improved  to 39-21  at home  this season.  The
 Milwaukee Brewers are set to visit the Queen City this weekend.
 
 Mat  Latos had  his unbeaten streak come to  an end his last time out and will
 take  the  mound Thursday  afternoon for the  Reds. Latos was  4-0 with a 1.32
 earned  run average  in his previous five starts and suffered a hard-luck loss
 Saturday  in  a 2-0  loss at  Milwaukee, where  he allowed  both runs in seven
 innings.
 
 Latos  is 12-4 with a 3.02 ERA in 25 starts and defeated the Diamondbacks with
 7  2/3 innings of  one-run ball and 13 strikeouts in a 4-2 win on June 23. The
 right-hander,  who is  7-1 in 10 home starts,  is 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven
 career starts against Arizona.
 
 Arizona  is fighting for  a playoff spot in the National League and can pretty
 much give up on the NL West because the Los Angeles Dodgers have an 8 1/2-game
 lead.
 
 The  D'backs entered Wednesday's game having won six of eight games and almost
 pulled  off a  huge comeback in the  third portion of this series. Jason Kubel
 drove  in two runs  and Adam Eaton hit a two-run homer during a four-run fifth
 inning  to trim Cincinnati's lead to 8-4. Martin Prado delivered an RBI single
 in  the seventh and  Gerardo Parra led off a two-run eighth inning with a solo
 shot to shave the Reds' lead to one run.
 
 Chapman, though, ended the Arizona fury with two strong innings of relief.
 
 "They  played their  tails off," D'backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They did a
 heck  of  a job.  They had  a terrible start.  They played  great, I've got no
 complaints about it at all."
 
 Brandon McCarthy was dealt the loss for surrendering seven runs and eight hits
 over 2 1/3 innings.
 
 "I couldn't get anything down in the zone for whatever reason," McCarthy said.
 "I really think mechanically I just got some issues I have to iron out."
 
 Arizona  is  3-3 on a  10-game road  trip along the  east coast and will visit
 Philadelphia for three games this weekend.
 
 Taking  the mound  for the D'backs Thursday will be Trevor Cahill. Cahill came
 off  the disabled  list for Saturday's 15-5 pounding of the Pittsburgh Pirates
 at  PNC Park and allowed four runs in five innings. Cahill was 0-6 with a 7.91
 earned run average in his previous eight starts.
 
 The  right-hander, who is 4-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 18 starts overall, has never
 faced  the Reds. Cahill will make his fourth straight start on the road, where
 he owns a 3-6 record and a 5.60 ERA.
 
 Arizona won two of three versus the Reds from June 21-23 at Chase Field.
 
 08/22 08:54:09 ET

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