With their longest slide of the season in the past, the Cincinnati Reds hope to build on a much-needed victory.
The Reds will try to win consecutive road games for the first time in more than a month Thursday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Homer Bailey threw seven strong innings to outpitch Clayton Kershaw and help Cincinnati (23-28) snap a four-game skid with a 3-2 win at Los Angeles on Wednesday. The win was just the Reds' fourth in 14 road games since winning three straight at Pittsburgh from April 22-24.Though Cincinnati has not scored more than three runs in five straight contests, its latest victory could provide a boost for a club that's underachieved in the first two months of the season."It feels good just to come through for the team and do something positive to get us going in the right direction," said Phillips, whose homer was his only hit in 12 at-bats during the series.With two doubles Wednesday, teammate Todd Frazier is batting .364 (8 for 22) in his last six road games. However, he's 3 for 24 in his past seven against Arizona (22-33).Looking to avoid losing his third consecutive start, Cincinnati's Tony Cingrani (2-4, 4.06 ERA) has yielded four runs, seven hits and three walks over six innings in each of his last two outings. Those came after he missed more than two weeks with shoulder tendinitis.The most recent was a 6-3 defeat to St. Louis on Saturday."He's not vintage yet," manager Bryan Price told the Reds' official website. "His velocity isn't back to where it was in his opening start, and what we're used to seeing, but he's managing his offspeed pitches better."It's give-and-take a little bit right now with Tony."In his only previous outing against Arizona on Aug. 20, the left-hander allowed a solo homer to Martin Prado and one other hit in 3 2/3 innings before leaving the 5-2 home loss with a strained lower back.Prado and Paul Goldschmidt homered and had three RBIs in Arizona's 12-6 win over San Diego on Wednesday. Chris Owings recorded four hits while Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock each added three for the Diamondbacks, who set a club record with eight first-inning runs en route to their fourth victory in six games.Prado has batted .385 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 10 home games.Goldschmidt has hit .419 with three homers and seven RBIs in his past eight against the Reds.Looking to win his third consecutive start, Arizona's Josh Collmenter (3-2, 3.91) gave up two runs in six innings of a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday. He's 3-2 with a 4.20 ERA in eight starts this season.The right-hander is making his first start against the Reds. He's allowed a run and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings over three appearances versus Cincinnati.The Diamondbacks have dropped two straight and eight of 11 to the Reds, but took two of three from them at home last season.
Cincinnati Reds batters have hit .257 this season in at-bats to end in a fastball, the fifth-lowest rate in baseball. Josh Collmenter has thrown the third-highest percentage of fastballs this season among qualified starters (75.7 percent).