Veteran righty Kevin Correia aims for an eighth win in 10 career decisions against the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday when the Pittsburgh Pirates visit them for the second of three games at Great American Ball Park.
The Pirates trail St. Louis by 2 1/2 games for the final National League wild card playoff berth. Pittsburgh has slipped to third in the NL Central, 12 games behind the Reds.
Correia, who turned 32 last month, has won seven of nine decisions across 17 lifetime meetings with the Reds while posting a 4.90 earned run average against them in 75 1/3 innings.
Two meetings in 2012 have yielded a loss and a no-decision, however, as the Californian has surrendered 17 hits and eight runs in 12 innings across a 6-1 loss on May 4 and a 5-4 Pirates victory on June 7.
Correia, who's mixed four relief appearances this season with 23 starts, is unbeaten in his last three games, including a win over Houston on Sept. 5 and a pair of no-decisions against Milwaukee on Aug. 26 and 31.
In the three games - in which the Pirates are 1-2 - he's given up two runs on 12 hits in 12 1/3 innings.
The Reds counter with 24-year-old right-hander Mike Leake, who's won just once in nine career meetings with Pittsburgh.
Also a Californian, Leake went six innings and allowed four runs against the Pirates on Aug. 4 in Cincinnati - picking up a no-decision in the Reds' 5-4 win.
In six starts since, Leake is 3-2 with a no-decision while his ERA has risen slightly from 4.51 to 4.72.
Leake is 3-5 this season in 15 home starts with a 5.69 ERA.
On Monday, Devin Mesoraco scored on Ryan Ludwick's infield single in the bottom of the 14th inning to lift the Reds to a 4-3 win.
The Pirates squandered a bases-loaded opportunity with no outs in the top of the 14th as Alfredo Simon (3-2) managed to escape the jam. Pittsburgh also failed to score with the bags full in the 10th.
Mesoraco lined a single off the left-field wall to begin the 14th. Brandon Phillips then hit a dribbler in front of the plate. Catcher Michael McKenry tried to get the lead runner, but Mesoraco beat the throw to second base.
Rick VandenHurk (0-1), who had his contract selected from Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday, retired the next two batters before uncorking a wild pitch. Ludwick then hit a sharp grounder to shortstop. Chase d'Arnaud, whom the Pirates also recalled from Indianapolis, made a diving stop, but was unable to make the throw to first.
"I stunk the entire game. I'm just glad I got the job done in the 14th," Ludwick said.
The teams split their first 12 games of 2012, a season after the Pirates won 10 of 15 meetings.