The Cincinnati Reds received some outstanding pitching over the weekend, but that effort was wasted as their offense stalled.
The slumping Reds look to avoid their fourth straight loss Monday night when they open a three-game road series against the Oakland Athletics.
After beginning the weekend atop the NL Central, Cincinnati (37-33) fell 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the division lead after getting swept by last-place Seattle. The Reds scored one run and were held to 14 hits in the series, dropping Sunday’s finale 1-0 for their sixth loss in seven games.
“It was a nightmare weekend as far as scoring runs,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It was like we couldn’t buy a run and it didn’t look like they were for sale.”
“It was a tough weekend.”
Cincinnati has scored a total of 13 runs over the last seven games, hitting .204. Joey Votto(notes) is one of the few players producing during that stretch, batting .385 with three homers and four RBIs, although he went 0 for 3 Sunday.
Leake gave up five runs for the second consecutive outing Wednesday in a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers. He allowed nine hits and three walks over six innings in suffering his first defeat in 13 starts.
“I don’t like (losses),” Leake said. “I finally got the first one. Now it’s out of the way and I can move on from it.”
The right-hander is making his first interleague start. He is 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four road starts.
Oakland (34-37) has also stumbled recently, but will try for back-to-back wins for the first time since a four-game streak May 26-29 after the club snapped a four-game skid with a 3-2 victory Sunday at St. Louis.
“It’s good for us to finish the series the right way and carry it going into this week,” Kouzmanoff said. “It’s pretty important.”
The Oakland third baseman started the series 0 for 8, but is hitting .419 in interleague play this year. Kouzmanoff, who spent the previous three seasons with San Diego, is batting .397 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 73 career at-bats against the Reds. The seven homers are his most against any opponent.
He gave up a season-high six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 6-2 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.
Gonzalez has been much better at home, going 4-2 with a 2.90 ERA in six starts. This will be his first appearance against the Reds.