Johnny Cueto looks to remain unbeaten when he leads the Cincinnati Reds into Friday's opener of a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Cueto is 4-0 in seven starts to go along with a 2.08 earned run average and previously toed the rubber in Sunday's 5-1 win over Milwaukee. In his first start since coming off the disabled list because of a strained right lat muscle, Cueto held the Brewers to a run in six innings with three strikeouts and no walks.
The right-hander has enjoyed success against the Diamondbacks, going 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA in six career starts.
Cincinnati hopes Cueto's dominance of the D'backs come into play when the club begins an eight-game road trip in the desert. The Reds, who are 3 1/2 games off the NL Central lead, recently split a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates and went 4-3 on the homestand.
In a 5-3 loss to the Buccos on Thursday, Alfredo Simon allowed three runs in relief to take the loss and wasted a solid performance from starter Homer Bailey, who limited Pittsburgh to two runs in six innings with eight K's and no walks.
"My split is so big for me all year. I've gotten a lot of strikeouts with it and a lot of outs with it," Bailey said. "We didn't have it today at all. My curveball was up. My slider didn't really have what we wanted it to."
Jay Bruce homered and Joey Votto added two hits and an RBI in defeat.
The Reds will also visit Oakland and Texas on the road trip.
Arizona has won two in a row after losing four straight and took a three-game series from the Miami Marlins with Wednesday's 3-1 win.
Cody Ross was the hero for the D'backs and belted a pinch-hit three-run home run in the eighth inning. Trevor Cahill pitched just an inning in the start and was forced to leave the game with a balky right hip. Cahill was hit on the right hip by a line drive off the bat of Marcell Ozuna in the top of the first.
"He said he could power through it," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson told the club's website. "But just watching him warm up it didn't seem like he was pushing off very good and we were worried about him hurting his arm."
David Hernandez threw a scoreless inning of relief for the win and Heath Bell tallied his 13th save even though he gave up a home run in the ninth. The Diamondbacks lead the NL West by two games ahead of San Francisco and 2 1/2 games in front of San Diego.
Taking the mound for the D'backs Friday will be Wade Miley. Miley is just 1-5 in his last six decisions and took the loss in Saturday's 6-4 setback at San Diego, as he permitted six runs in six innings to fall to 4-6 in 14 starts with a 4.64 ERA.
Miley has made two career starts against the Reds and is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA.
The Diamondbacks and Reds are meeting for the first time since Cincinnati won five of seven matchups a season ago.