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Leake goes for Reds in finale against Twins

Mike Leake tries to match Johnny Cueto's terrific effort from Saturday when he takes the hill for the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon in the finale of a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins at Great American Ball Park.

Leake, who is 2-5 with a 4.70 ERA, had been slated to go on Monday, but Reds manager Dusty Baker announced Friday that he and Mat Latos were switching spots in the rotation.

"Leake and (Tuesday's starter Bronson) Arroyo are very similar," Baker said. "Plus the extra day with the off-day (on Thursday), too, gave us the liberty to do something."

Leake did not get a decision Tuesday in Cleveland, but pitched well, surrendering just a run and six hits in seven innings of a 3-2 loss.

After dropping Friday night's game, the Reds managed to even the series Saturday afternoon, winning 6-0. The win also marked the end of their season- high four-game losing streak.

Cueto (9-3) has been spectacular all season long, but Saturday's performance was arguably his most dominant yet. He pitched seven innings allowing three hits and no runs, striking out nine and walking just one, lowering his ERA to 2.21 in the process.

"We have incredible confidence in Johnny every time he touches the ball," Cincinnati third basemen Scott Rolen said. "What I really liked, though, was even though we lost four games, I didn't notice anybody thinking we were really struggling or in a dire position of needing a win."

Cincinnati did most of their damage in the four-run fourth inning, which was highlighted by a two-run homer from Brandon Phillips, his 10th of the season.

Rolen, Jay Bruce, and Todd Frazier all had two hits for the Reds, and Cueto helped himself with a pair of RBI, including a squeeze play in the fourth.

Taking the loss for the Twins was Brian Duensing (1-3), who lasted just three innings while allowing four hits, two walks, and four earned runs. Anthony Swarzak helped save the Minnesota bullpen by playing damage control in four innings of relief, giving up just one run.

Ryan Doumit had one of the Twins' three hits, extending his hit streak to a modest six games.

It was the seventh time this season that Minnesota has been shut out.

Scott Diamond is set to throw for the Twins this afternoon. The southpaw has been Minnesota's most effective starting pitcher this season, racking up a 5-3 record and a very impressive 2.57 ERA.

Since his hot start however, Diamond has been scuffling. He's given up eight earned runs in his past 11 1/3 innings, suffering back-to-back losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies.