Washington (34-53) at Cincinnati (40-47)

Fair Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 1:15 pm EDT Fri Jul 4, 2008
  • TV: MASN2, FSOH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Cincinnati Reds starter Bronson Arroyo hasn’t had much success lately, but things might finally be taking a positive turn.

Arroyo looks to build on his first win in over a month on Friday as the Reds and Washington Nationals continue their four-game series at Great American Ball Park in a matchup of last-place clubs.

Arroyo (5-7, 6.19 ERA) went 0-3 with a 10.07 ERA in five starts before snapping that skid on Sunday. He gave up an earned run and five hits in six innings with six strikeouts to lead Cincinnati (40-47) to a 9-5 victory at Cleveland.

It was the right-hander’s first win since he won back-to-back starts May 24 and 28. The victory came five days after he gave up 10 runs and 11 hits in an inning-plus in a 14-1 loss at Toronto in the worst outing of his career.

“I threw a lot more bad pitches (Sunday) than I did in Toronto,” Arroyo said. “I hung a lot of breaking balls. I got away with a lot. They were popping them up. It shows how strange this game is sometimes.”

Arroyo is 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals. He yielded seven runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings of a 7-2 loss at Washington on Aug. 1.

Arroyo also hopes for better results at home, where he is 1-4 with a 5.16 ERA in eight starts this season.

Cincinnati won for the second time in nine home contests, rallying for a series-opening 5-3 victory on Thursday to end a six-game losing streak to Washington.

Rookie Johnny Cueto allowed three runs in seven innings and struck out eight for the Reds, who scored all of their runs with two outs, and capitalized on an error by Nationals (34-53) first baseman Dmitri Young in the seventh inning.

“Two-out hitting is something we haven’t done much of lately - or earlier,” said second baseman Brandon Phillips, who had three hits and three RBIs.

Phillips has hit .410 (25-for-61) with a homer and 15 RBIs over his last 15 games, a stretch that also includes his current seven-game hitting streak in which he is 14-for-30 (.467) with a homer and nine RBIs.

Phillips has also batted .315 (17-for-54) with two doubles and nine RBIs in 14 career games against the Nationals, who are 5-11 since winning three in a row from June 13-15.

“It hurts to lose a game like that,” Young said. “You just have to sleep on it, wake up and get on with it.”

Left fielder Elijah Dukes homered for the third time in four games and drove in two runs for Washington, which sends Jason Bergmann (1-5, 4.26) to the mound.

The right-hander is 0-4 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts since beating the New York Mets on May 15.

He hasn’t received a decision in his last two outings despite limiting Baltimore to one run and six hits in seven innings of a 3-2, 12-inning home win on Sunday. He carried a shutout into the seventh before surrendering a home run.

“I struggled a little bit with my command,” Bergmann told the Nationals’ official Web site. “I was able to come back a little bit and throw some strikes when I needed to.”

This will be Bergmann’s first career start versus the Reds, against whom he has given up one run and in two innings of relief.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Bergmann KC vs. B. Arroyo Ari
2-11 Record 15-11
5.09 ERA 4.77
96 K 163
47 BB 68
1.43 WHIP 1.44

Scoreboard

Friday, Jul 4