(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Reds can close out the first part of a
season sweep of intrastate rival Cleveland today when the Indians visit Great
American Ball Park for the finale of a three-game set.
The Reds picked up their second straight win over the Tribe, 5-3, on Wednesday
night and can win each game in a three-game series for the first time since
The teams will play three more times, in Cleveland, later this month.
Cincinnati has won four season series from Cleveland over the years - 1997,
2007, 2008 and 2009 - but never came closer to an overall sweep than when it
took five of six in 2008.
The Indians won five of six last season, including three straight in Cleveland
on May 20, 21 and 22, and two more in Cincinnati on July 1 and 2.
The Reds won last year's finale, 7-5, behind starter Mike Leake, who'll get
the call today after having an outing delayed one day by a stomach virus.
Teammate Mat Latos (5-2) went in his place and tossed seven solid innings
Wednesday for the Reds, following Johnny Cueto's Tuesday complete game by
allowing just two runs on seven hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.
Sean Marshall worked a perfect eighth and Aroldis Chapman allowed a run in the
ninth, but recovered to record his seventh save of the season.
Brandon Phillips went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run and three RBI, while
Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce also knocked in runs for the Reds.
"I just go out there and and do the best I can do hitting in the four-hole,"
Phillips said. "I just try to protect Joey (Votto) as much as possible."
Jose Lopez blasted a solo home run, while Casey Kotchman and Johnny Damon
added RBI for the Tribe, who have dropped three of their last four.
Derek Lowe (7-5) allowed three runs on five hits over six innings in defeat.
He struck out four but struggled with command and walked six batters.
"I thought Derek threw the ball well, but struggled with his command," Indians
manager Manny Acta said. "He walked a few guys, but other than that he made
pitches when he had to."
Leake has won two straight decisions and has gone five starts without a loss
since he began the year with five straight defeats.
He defeated Houston, 4-1, with seven innings of four-hit ball on June 1, then
allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings of the Reds' 5-4 loss to
Pittsburgh on June 7.
The start against the Indians last season was the only time in his career he's
Cleveland goes with Texas-born righty Josh Tomlin, who beat the Reds, 2-1, in
his lone start against them last season on May 21.
In that game, the now 27-year-old gave up a run on three hits in seven
innings, walking one and striking out three.
He's split six decisions in 2012 but won his most recent start, scattering
eight hits and allowing two runs in a 6-2 win at St. Louis on June 8.
In four road outings this season, he's 2-0 with a 3.65 earned run average
across 24 2/3 innings.
The Sports Network