The Cincinnati Reds wrapped up a disappointing road trip in disheartening fashion. They hope a six-game homestand can help them get back on track.
The Reds look to win eight straight at home for the first time in more than a dozen years when they open a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.
Cincinnati (23-28) got a needed day off on Memorial Day following Sunday’s 12-9, 18-inning loss to San Diego. The Reds took one-run leads in the seventh and ninth innings and a two-run lead in the 11th, but gave the lead back each time.
“Three times we could have won the game and three times they fought back,” Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said.
The Reds finished their trip 2-5 following a 6-0 homestand.
Cincinnati has hit 16 home runs and scored 43 runs during its seven-game win streak at Great American Ball Park. The Reds haven’t won eight in a row at home since Aug. 1-15, 1995, when the team played at Cinergy Field. That was the last season the Reds, currently in last place in the NL Central, won their division.
The Pirates (24-26) have lost 12 of their last 17 on the road, but are coming off a couple of confidence-building victories.
After defeating Chicago 5-4 in 14 innings Saturday, Pittsburgh beat the Cubs 6-5 in 11 innings on Sunday, with Jason Bay driving in the winning run in both games.
Bay is 12-for-25 (.480) with three homers, eight RBIs and five runs in his last six games, and he has more home runs against the Reds (20) than any other team. He batted .429 (12-for-28) with three home runs and nine RBIs in seven games at Great American Ball Park last season, and had two homers and four RBIs in Pittsburgh’s three-game home sweep of Cincinnati from April 11-13.
Reds slugger Adam Dunn has homered in each of his last four games at Cincinnati, and is 6-for-22 (.273) with five home runs and 10 RBIs during the home winning streak. However, he went 1-for-7 in two games against the Pirates earlier this season and is 2-for-20 lifetime against Tuesday’s scheduled starter Ian Snell (2-3, 4.84 ERA).
Ken Griffey Jr., who hit his 598th homer Thursday at San Diego, is 6-for-14 (.429) with a homer and five walks in his career versus Snell.
Snell went 2-0 in his first three starts this season, but hasn’t won since allowing three runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 victory over the Reds on April 12.
The right-hander gave up four runs - two earned - with nine hits and six strikeouts in six innings of a 4-1 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday.
“It’s still early, but it’s frustrating not getting the results I want early,” said Snell, 3-4 with a 5.18 ERA in eight starts against Cincinnati.
The Reds will counter with Johnny Cueto (2-5, 5.56), who has one win in his last nine starts.
The 22-year-old rookie right-hander allowed four runs - two earned - and seven hits in five innings, while throwing a career-high 114 pitches in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
Cueto suffered his first career loss in his only start against the Pirates on April 13, giving up five runs in six innings of a 9-1 defeat.
The Reds are expected to call up outfielder Jay Bruce, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, for this contest. Bruce, 21, was hitting .364 with 9 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in 49 games at Triple-A Louisville.