Cincinnati (25-18) at Cleveland (15-26)

Fair Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun May 23, 2010
  • TV: FSOH, STO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The rivalry between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians has been extremely tight since interleague play began over a decade ago.

There’s no mistaking which team has had the upper hand lately, however.

The surprising Reds try to remain atop the NL Central and complete their first-ever road sweep of the Indians on Sunday.

Coming off its ninth straight losing season, Cincinnati has an opportunity to end that streak this year. It moved seven games over .500 for the first time in nearly four years with Saturday’s 6-4 victory over Cleveland. The win put the Reds (25-18) one-half game ahead of St. Louis in the Central and gave them a 33-32 edge in the all-time series with the Indians.

Cincinnati has won four straight and 12 of 15 against Cleveland (15-26). A victory Sunday would put the Reds eight games over .500 for the first time since June 30, 2006.

Another strong outing from a starting pitcher keyed Saturday’s win for the Reds, winners in 18 of 25. Johnny Cueto(notes) allowed two runs in six innings as Cincinnati starters improved to 10-1 with a 2.56 ERA in the last 14 games.

Jay Bruce(notes) was 4 for 4 with two RBIs and Brandon Phillips(notes) had two doubles and three runs for the Reds, who are batting .304 with 19 homers during that 14-game span.

Cincinnati closer Francisco Cordero(notes) gave up two runs in the ninth before striking out Shin-Soo Choo(notes) and getting Austin Kearns(notes) to line out.

Cordero yielded a walkoff grand slam in a 10-9 loss Thursday at Atlanta and worked a perfect ninth Friday night to save a 7-4 win.

“I was throwing good pitches, but they kept fouling them off,” he said after making 36 pitches. “That was the best I’ve felt. It was big. I didn’t want to give up a game again.”

Cleveland has been outscored 44-20 during a season-high six-game losing streak. The Indians are batting .213 during the skid while their pitchers have compiled a 6.29 ERA.

Travis Hafner(notes) has been one of the few bright spots lately for Cleveland, batting .396 with eight RBIs in his last 15 games.

Homer Bailey(notes) (1-2, 5.21 ERA) looks to turn in a third straight effective outing for Cincinnati. The right-hander settled down after allowing two runs in a 30-pitch first inning Tuesday against Milwaukee, rebounding with six scoreless innings in the Reds’ 5-4 come-from-behind victory.

Bailey has surrendered two runs over 16 innings in his past two starts after giving up 14 runs in his previous three, spanning 16 2-3 innings.

He is 2-0 with a 6.91 ERA in three starts against the Indians, failing to pitch more than five innings in any outing.

Struggling David Huff(notes) (1-6, 5.36) seeks his first win in over a month for Cleveland. The left-hander lost his fifth straight start Tuesday at Tampa Bay, yielding three runs and seven hits through five-plus innings in a 6-2 defeat. He left in the sixth with the game tied after throwing 103 pitches and dropped to 0-5 with a 7.33 ERA in his past five appearances.

In two starts against the Reds last season, Huff was tagged for 13 runs and 16 hits in eight innings.

Joey Votto(notes) is 3 for 4 with a pair of homers against Huff while Ramon Hernandez(notes) is 4 for 5 with a home run.

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Starting Pitchers

H. Bailey Cin vs. D. Huff LAD
4-3 Record 2-11
4.46 ERA 6.21
100 K 37
40 BB 34
1.37 WHIP 1.69

Scoreboard

Sunday, May 23