Reds try to break out of slump with series win over D-backs

( - They haven't hit much lately, so the Cincinnati Reds really need to pitch.

Right-hander Alfredo Simon gets that responsibility on Wednesday afternoon when the still-slumping Reds face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds are 2-9 since the All-Star break, a stretch in which they've hit just .176 as a team, been swept in a pair of three-game series and fallen from 1 1/2 to six games off the lead in the National League's Central Division.

Another blow came Tuesday, when slugger Jay Bruce was placed on the bereavement list.

He'd been 3-for-36 in his last 10 games and joins injured All-Stars Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips on the shelf.

Cincinnati managed three runs alongside 7 2/3 scoreless innings of work from Mike Leake in Tuesday's game, a 3-0 win.

"Fantastic job," Reds infielder Todd Frazier said. "We needed it."

The loss Tuesday was Arizona's ninth via shutout this season.

Cincinnati aims for consecutive wins on Wednesday for the first time since it won five straight between July 6-9. Getting the ball with that objective is Simon, who'd gone 6-0 in eight starts leading up to the All-Star Game, but is 0-2 since while allowing seven runs in 9 1/3 innings.

He was dinged for three runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 4-1 loss to Washington on Friday.

"I like to stay with my starters," manager Bryce Price said. "I think they've earned the right to work out of trouble, but he wasn't getting better. You start to lose hope."

He's started once and made four bullpen appearances in his career against Arizona and is 2-0 with a 1.88 earned run average. In his last outing against the Diamondbacks, he allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 4-3 win on June 1.

Lefty Wade Miley gets the mound call for Arizona while trying to regain his early July momentum.

He was 3-0 with a sub-2.00 ERA in four starts to begin the month, but was ripped for five earned runs in five innings of a 9-5 loss at Philadelphia in his last start on Friday.

"He wasn't very good," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He didn't have a good feel with his pitches."

Miley was a loser against Simon in the aforementioned June 1 game and is 1-2 against the Reds wit a 5.01 ERA in four career meetings.

On Tuesday, Leake (8-9) only yielded five hits and struck out eight batters. He had allowed four runs and at least eight hits in each of his previous three starts.

Frazier, Brayan Pena and Leake drove in runs for Cincinnati.

Trevor Cahill (1-8) fell to 0-6 in starts this season after giving up all three runs on seven hits. Bo Schultz faced the minimum in two innings out of the bullpen. Arizona's relievers have now gone 18 2/3 straight innings without surrendering a run.