Young southpaw Tony Cingrani makes his first career start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night when the playoff-chasing Cincinnati Reds host them in game two of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds and Diamondbacks are in a duel for the second available wild card playoff berth in the National League. Cincinnati enters the series with a seven-game lead on Arizona for the slot, while the Reds trail No. 1 wild card place-holder St. Louis.
In Monday night's opener, Brandon Phillips went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Reds to a 5-3 win.
Zack Cozart drove in a pair of runs, while Bronson Arroyo (12-9) won his third straight start as he gave up three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts over six innings for the Reds, who have won seven of their past nine.
Martin Prado hit a two-run single while Aaron Hill homered for the Diamondbacks, who had won five of six coming into the game. Randall Delgado (4-4) gave up five runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts over six innings to lose for the first time in seven starts.
The Reds entered the week with a 56-49 lead in the all-time series with the Diamondbacks, but Arizona won two of three when the teams last met in Phoenix from June 21-23.
Meanwhile, Cingrani debuted in Cincinnati with three appearances last season and has stepped into a prominent role this year thanks to the injury absence of staff ace Johnny Cueto, who won 19 games last season.
Cingrani has won three of his last four decisions to get to 6-2 on the year, including a 2-1 win at Milwaukee on Aug. 15 in which he allowed a single run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
He's allowed two runs or less in eight of his last 10 appearances, and, in the three wins since July 23, has allowed six runs on 13 hits in 18 innings of work.
In nine home appearances in 2013, Cingrani is 2-1 with a 2.65 earned run average.
Cingrani will be opposed by another breakout southpaw in his second big-league season, Arizona All-Star Patrick Corbin.
The 24-year-old native of Clay, N.Y. was 6-8 in 22 big-league outings last year before winning his initial nine decisions this season before a 9-1 loss to the New York Mets on July 2.
He's won three of five decisions since, but is actually without a victory in his last four outings during which he's thrown 27 innings and allowed 10 runs on 27 hits.
Corbin last faced the Reds on June 22 in Arizona and got a no-decision after allowing three hits and a run in eight innings of a game the Diamondbacks ultimately won, 4-3.
He's 4-2 in 10 road starts with a 3.39 ERA.