Veteran right-hander Bronson Arroyo can continue a recent run of good results on Friday night when the Cincinnati Reds host the Milwaukee Brewers in the opener of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
Arroyo, a 36-year-old from Key West, Fla., was just 2-4 on the season after a 7-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves on May 6, but he's since won four of five decisions across six subsequent starts.
The run to respectability began with the Brewers on May 12, when he tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 5-1 victory in Cincinnati that lifted his career mark against Milwaukee to 14-10 in 30 games.
Arroyo has allowed 73 earned runs, walked 56 batters and struck out 132 while holding the Brewers to a collective .245 average.
He defeated Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs in his next two starts, then lost to Cleveland before beating Colorado and getting a no-decision against St. Louis in his last start on Sunday.
Arroyo is 5-1 in eight home starts in 2013 with a stingy 2.68 earned run average.
He faces former Red righty Kyle Lohse, who's 3-3 in 11 career starts against the team for whom he made 33 appearances in 2004 and 2005.
Lohse was just 9-12 with the Reds after being acquired from the Minnesota Twins, but has since reached double-digit victories five times - all with the Cardinals - since he was dealt away.
He won 16 of 19 decisions with the Cardinals last season, then signed a free- agent deal with the Brewers shortly before the start of the 2013 schedule.
He was a 9-1 winner over Philadelphia in his most recent start on June 9 after allowing a run on four hits in eight innings.
On Thursday in Cincinnati, Julio Borbon delivered a pinch-hit, two-out, game- winning RBI single in the bottom of the 14th inning to help the Cubs steal a 6-5 victory over the Reds in the finale of a four-game set at Wrigley Field.
Facing the Reds' sixth reliever of the game, Jonathan Broxton (2-2), Starlin Castro opened up the frame with a single. The next batter, Anthony Rizzo, struck out, but Castro stole second. Alfonso Soriano then hit a slow chopper back to the mound to move Castro to third and, after Nate Schierholtz was intentionally walked, Bourbon came through with the difference-making single to left.
Cincinnati held a 5-4 advantage heading into the eighth, but the Cubs rallied off reliever Sam LeCure. Schierholtz walked with one out and Luis Valbuena followed with a single. After Welington Castillo flew out, Darwin Barney hit a game-tying RBI single to right.
Jay Bruce had four hits and Joey Votto drove in two runs for the Reds, who had won 12 straight at Wrigley -- the best mark by any opponent at the Cubs' home park.
"We really didn't want to use Broxton because he was sore," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He was our last, last, last resort. I was even asking guys if they used to pitch in case I had to use a position player."
On Wednesday in Miami, Carlos Gomez finished 4-for-5 with two triples and three RBI as the Brewers dismantled the Marlins, 10-1, to win the rubber match of a three-game series.
Jonathan Lucroy added a three-run triple in the first inning and ended with four RBI. Jean Segura belted a solo home run for the Brewers, who have been scoring runs despite not having slugger Ryan Braun in the lineup due to nagging thumb injury.
"He has put together quite a good season so far," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "He continues to have good at bats."
Alfredo Figaro (1-0) spun seven scoreless innings to get his first major league win since Sept. 26, 2009. The right-hander surrendered three hits with four strikeouts in his third start of the year.
The Reds swept a three-game series versus the Brewers from May 10-12 in Cincinnati, and won nine of 15 games with Milwaukee in 2012.