The Cincinnati Reds can push their winning streak to 10 games on Sunday when they go for a sweep in the finale of their three-game set with the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
Cincinnati continued to roll on Saturday, despite a so-so effort from ace Johnny Cueto, as Ryan Ludwick slammed two of the Reds' five home runs in a 9-7 win. Todd Frazier, Drew Stubbs and Scott Rolen also homered for Cincinnati, which won for the 16th time in their last 18 games.
Cueto (13-5), who entered Saturday with the best earned run average in the National League, had another rough outing against the Rockies en route to the win. The right-hander allowed a career-high 11 hits against Colorado on May 25, and was tagged for five runs on 10 hits and two walks on Saturday.
"We picked Cueto up tonight. He can't throw zeroes up every time, even though he is pretty good," said Ludwick.
This is the best stretch for the Reds since winning 10 in a row from June 21- July 1, 1999.
"We're playing good baseball," second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "We just feel like we're coming together. We're all having a good time."
On the other side of the coin, Christian Friedrich (5-8) continued to struggle at Coors Field. He gave up seven runs on six hits, including three home runs, in 4 1/3 innings. This season, Friedrich is 2-5 with an 8.98 ERA at home.
Mat Latos takes the ball for the Reds this afternoon in search of his ninth win of the season. Latos won for the first time in four starts on Monday in Houston, as he held the Astros to two runs and eight hits in five innings to run his record to 8-3 on the year, while lowering his ERA to 4.30.
He was also bothered by an ankle injury, but appears ready to go this afternoon.
Latos beat the Rockies earlier in the year despite giving up five runs in 7 1/3 innings. He is 4-2 lifetime against them with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts.
Colorado, meanwhile, will counter with newly-acquired lefty Jonathan Sanchez, who makes his second start for the Rockies following an awful stint with the Kansas City Royals.
Sanchez continued to struggle in his first start with the Rockies on Monday in Arizona, as he allowed five runs and six hits in only four innings. He had been 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA for the Royals.
He has now allowed five or more runs in six of his 13 starts this season and hasn't recorded a win since his first start of the year on April 8. He is 0-3 with a 13.09 ERA in July.
"I felt pretty good, I thought I made some good pitches," Sanchez said. "I was over the plate more than I'm used to. It was one of those days where you make a mistake and you have to pay for it."
Sanchez has faced the Reds five times and is 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA against them.
Cincinnati took two of three from the Rockies at Great American Ball Park earlier in the year. A win today would give them their first sweep at Coors since July 13-15, 2000.