Right-hander Johnny Cueto can wrap up the season's unofficial first half with his 10th victory today, when the Cincinnati Reds visit Petco Park for the fourth and final game of a series with the host San Diego Padres.
A 26-year-old Dominican, Cueto has been stuck at nine wins since June 23, when he pitched seven scoreless innings in a 6-0 defeat of Minnesota.
He's dropped a pair of starts since while attempting to get to double digits, allowing a combined 13 hits and six runs in 13 innings in road games at San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In three career meetings with the Padres, Cueto is 0-2 with a bloated 7.41 earned run average in 17 innings.
He last faced San Diego in April 2010 and was a 5-0 loser after allowing five runs on seven hits in six innings.
The Reds took a 2-1 lead in the series on Saturday, when Chris Heisey hit a two-run homer and Drew Stubbs added a solo blast in a 6-5 win.
Devin Mesoraco and Homer Bailey each had an RBI and Todd Frazier scored twice for the Reds, who have won five of 10 on a West Coast swing against the Dodgers, Giants and Padres.
Bailey (7-6) allowed four runs - two earned - on seven hits and fanned eight over 6 2/3 innings.
Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 10th save of the season.
Chris Denorfia hit a solo homer and Logan Forsythe drove in a pair of runs for the Padres, who lost for the second time since winning six straight. Carlos Quentin chipped in with two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
Clayton Richard (6-9) was pegged with the loss after giving up all six runs on eight hits is six-plus innings.
The win allowed the Reds to stay within a game of the lead in the National League's Central Division, where they trail the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates won, 3-1, at home against visiting San Francisco.
The Padres end the series with righty Jason Marquis, who'll start for the seventh time since San Diego signed him as a free agent in late May.
The 33-year-old Manhasset, N.Y. native was 2-4 in seven starts with the Minnesota Twins to begin the season, but headed to California after the Twins released him on May 28.
He was acquired by the Padres the following day and won one of five starts in June before opening July with a no-decision at Arizona.
He has a 3.49 ERA with San Diego after posting an 8.47 mark with the Twins.
Marquis has won seven of 10 career decisions against the Reds.
San Diego and Cincinnati are meeting for their first series in 2012. The Reds won four of six matchups last season.