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Reds below .500 for first time since June 21
CINCINNATI (JEFF MEZYDLO/STATS/AP) -- As the offensively challenged Cincinnati Reds continue to slide, they're trying to remain positive amid the frustration.
The Reds look to bounce back from another dismal performance at the plate and keep the Arizona Diamondbacks from securing their first road series win in a month Tuesday night.
Cincinnati (52-53) recorded six hits and struck out a season-high 18 times over 15 innings of a 2-1 loss to Arizona on Monday. The defeat dropped the Reds below .500 for the first time since they were 36-37 on June 21.
"There's not a whole lot to say," catcher Devin Mesoraco said. "Everybody's trying. They're giving good efforts before the game. We're just not doing our jobs on the field."
The Reds averaged 5.3 runs while winning seven of nine prior to the All-Star break, which they entered 1 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central. Since then, Cincinnati has totaled 17 runs, batted .171 and struck out 95 times while going 1-9 to fall six games off the lead.
"I can't be critical of the effort, but we're not producing," manager Bryan Price said. "The tide will turn. It's just frustrating."
Mesoraco's 17th home run in the second was one of two extra-base hits for the Reds, who have been held to a single run in four of five.
After going 0 for 6 with four strikeouts Monday, Cincinnati All-Star Todd Frazier is 3 for 27 and has struck out 10 times in the last seven games.
Teammate Zack Cozart, meanwhile, is mired in an 0-for-22 slump.
Though Frazier and Cozart are a combined 1 for 6 against Arizona's Trevor Cahill (1-7, 5.72 ERA), the right-hander is 0-5 with an 8.10 ERA in six starts this season.
Cahill allowed seven runs - three earned - and eight hits in four innings of an 11-5 loss to Detroit on Wednesday in his second outing since being recalled from the minors. Manager Kirk Gibson tried to find some positives but knows Cahill still has strides to make.
"He didn't walk anybody," Gibson told the Diamondbacks' official website. "But when we needed him to make pitches, he's missing spots."
Cahill yielded a run and four hits in seven innings while not factoring in the decision of a 2-1 defeat at Great American Park last season in his only previous start against the Reds.
Cincinnati counters with Mike Leake (7-9, 3.73), who posted a 2.20 ERA while winning three of four before going 0-2 with a 5.68 mark over the next three. He's yielded four runs in each of the last three after surrendering 11 hits in six innings of a 5-1 defeat at Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Though the right-hander has a 5.84 ERA in six starts versus Arizona (46-60), he's 3-0 and received an average of 6.81 runs of support in those contests. Leake's allowed four runs and six hits in six innings in each of last two against the Diamondbacks, most recently during a 6-4 victory May 30.
Paul Goldschmidt is 2 for 12 versus Leake and has gone 1 for 12 with five strikeouts in the last three games for Arizona, which hasn't won back-to-back road contests nor a series away from home since taking the first two at San Diego from June 27-29.
Teammate Nick Ahmed, who delivered the go-ahead single Monday, is 4 for 13 with two RBIs in three games since going 7 for 35 in the first 12 of his career this season.