Mike Leake is unexpectedly unbeatable on the road.
Chad Gaudin’s winning streak, however, may be more surprising.
Leake looks to continue his mastery outside Cincinnati as the Reds attempt to solve Gaudin and re-establish their success against the San Francisco Giants in the finale of this four-game set Wednesday night.
Leake (9-4, 2.79 ERA) is tied with Mat Latos for the team lead in wins, and his ERA is among the NL’s best.
Much of the right-hander’s success stems from a 6-0 record and 1.27 ERA over his last eight starts on the road, reaching at least the seventh inning in six of them. That’s a staggering reversal after winning seven games in 25 away starts the previous two seasons.
Two of those wins, however, came at San Francisco. He threw a nine-hitter in a 5-1 victory on June 29, 2012, his only complete game as a visitor. Leake has won his last three regular-season starts against the Giants (46-54) behind a 0.77 ERA.
Gaudin (4-1, 2.15) is enjoying his own impressive stretch for the Giants, going 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA in seven starts since replacing the injured Ryan Vogelsong (broken hand) in the rotation.
The journeyman right-hander has been superb over his last four outings, winning two while compiling a 0.77 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 23 1-3 innings. Prior to replacing Vogelsong, Gaudin’s last start came in 2009 with the New York Yankees.
“Obviously I’d like to start and enjoy starting,” Gaudin said. “I signed over here to do what I’m doing now. It’s great. I’ve put a lot of time and effort and work into having a good craft and pretty much dedicated myself to getting better and staying consistent.
“It’s kind of surprising, but at the same time I kind of expect it out of myself.”
Gaudin’s run continued Friday, when he fanned eight and yielded three hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win over Arizona.
He’s 0-1 while allowing five runs and two homers in 9 1-3 innings over three games versus the Reds (57-44), and his only career start against them was a defeat with Oakland in 2007.
Cincinnati will try to get to Gaudin again after splitting an unusual doubleheader at San Francisco on Tuesday. The Reds took the first game 9-3 before falling 5-3 in the nightcap, during which they were deemed the home team in a makeup of a July 4 rainout in Cincinnati.
Despite the defeat, the Reds have won 12 of the past 16 regular-season meetings with the Giants. They’re batting .326 with nine homers and 37 runs while winning five of six this year after being ousted in five games in the NL division series last fall.
Todd Frazier is 11 for 25 (.440) with 10 RBIs against the Giants this year, getting seven hits - four doubles - and driving in six runs in this series. He’ll face Gaudin for the first time, while Brandon Phillips is 0 for 6.
Joey Votto is also expected to get his first look at Gaudin, and he’s hitting .356 over his last 15 games at AT&T Park, including the playoffs.
San Francisco’s Hunter Pence is 8 for 21 (.381) in six games since the All-Star break after collecting five hits over the last three. The right fielder is 6 for 18 (.333) with two doubles and a homer off Leake.