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- Reds will try to add to Peralta's woes in Milwaukee
- Votto's 9th-inning HR lifts Reds over Brewers 12-9
- Reds top Brewers, end skid at four games
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- Struggling Reds try to avoid sweep vs. struggling Anderson
- Reds celebrate past then reality of present hits hard
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- De La Rosa, Pollock lead D-Backs to 6-3 win over Reds
- Price chooses to stay with Badenhop and it costs Reds
- Rookie Lamb hoping to make second outing more successful
- Reds trade Marlon Byrd to Giants
- Strange double play latest way Reds find to lose
- Shoulder injury sends Reds' Hamilton to DL
- Reds hoping Guthrie reverts back to trend prior to last start
- Chapman's blown save costs Iglesias and offense falters again
- Since trade to Royals, Cueto enjoying bigger parks
- Former Reds pitcher will be on mound Tuesday at GABP
- Who Asked You? Reds Edition August 16, 2015
- Greinke dominates, hits go-ahead HR as Dodgers beat Reds
- Reds will have to beat ERA leader to earn split vs. Dodgers
- Holmberg allows three homers as rookie pitchers taking toll
- Wood shakes off drive at shin to lead Dodgers past Reds
- Reds hoping to pound on Dodgers other new starter, too
- Lamb to make Reds debut on Friday against Dodgers
- Hamilton shakes out of slump with career night
- Latos faces Reds for first time since trade
- Iglesias, Votto lead Reds to 7-3 win against Padres
- Reds out to avoid Padres sweep
Reds, Pirates meet as playoff hopefuls
Updated: Friday, August 29 2014, 12:31 PM EDT
PITTSBURGH (KEVIN CHROUST/STATS/AP) --The Pittsburgh Pirates have begun to improve on an uninspiring divisional record during their current 15-game stretch against NL Central foes.
After series wins against the two teams ahead of them in the division, they'll now try to keep the Cincinnati Reds at a comfortable distance Friday night when the teams open a three-game series at PNC Park.
Pittsburgh (69-64) took two of three in Milwaukee before returning home and capturing two of three against St. Louis with Wednesday's 3-1 victory. Still, the team is just 26-32 within the Central.
The Pirates have won five of seven behind the pitching staff's 2.32 ERA, a number Edinson Volquez (11-7, 3.56 ERA) has been nearly in line with over his last six starts.
Volquez, a former Reds starter, hasn't lost in over a month, going 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in six outings. He was, however, quite hittable in Saturday's 10-2 win in Milwaukee. The right-hander surrendered two runs and a career high-matching 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings but earned the victory.
He's been roughed up by his former team this season, going 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA in two starts. Jay Bruce is 6 for 11 with a home run off Volquez, while Ryan Ludwick is 2 for 13 with seven strikeouts.
Another win would give him his highest total since he went 17-6 in 2008, his first season in Cincinnati.
The Reds (65-69) have won nine of 13 in the season series, including five of seven in Pittsburgh.
After Thursday's 7-2 home win over Chicago, they've won four of five overall. The Reds stole six bases in a game for the firs time in over eight years. Billy Hamilton had one to accompany a 2-for-2 day at the plate with two walks, two runs and two RBIs. The center fielder has hit safely in eight straight against Pittsburgh with a .425 average.
Mike Leake takes the mound hoping for a similar day from the lineup. Leake (10-11, 3.51) limited Atlanta to two hits in 6 2-3 innings of Saturday's 1-0 win and earned the decision after allowing nine runs in 12 innings over his previous two starts.
"He had A-grade stuff," manager Bryan Price told MLB's official website.
The right-hander has thrown more innings at PNC (56) than any other visiting ballpark, but he has a 1-3 record and 3.21 ERA to show for it over nine career starts there. He's gone 11 starts without losing to the Pirates - a 5-0 stretch with a 3.97 ERA.
He's faced Andrew McCutchen (13 for 48) more than any other hitter in baseball, and it seems that matchup will be renewed after the reigning NL MVP returned to the lineup Wednesday after aggravating an ongoing rib injury Tuesday.
"I'm not going to be passive. I'm going to keep playing like I play," said McCutchen, who is batting .412 in 13 games against Cincinnati this season. "If my body says, 'No,' my body says, 'No.' But it's nothing big. This takes time to heal, and there are going to be days like this. We just want those kinds of days to be minuscule."
Among Pirates hitters, Russell Martin has done the most damage against Leake with a 10-for-27 mark.
Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez was out of the lineup Wednesday, a day after he was removed due to left foot discomfort. Alvarez left PNC Park with a walking boot on his foot after Tuesday's game and was seen wearing the boot in the clubhouse Wednesday, but the club hasn't issued an update.
The Pirates could also be without Travis Snider after the right fielder left Wednesday's game with a hamstring injury.