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AP - Sports

Cincinnati's Homer Bailey had routinely struggled against the Milwaukee Brewers until shutting them down last weekend.

The Brewers' Yovani Gallardo regularly frustrates the Reds.

Bailey looks to build on his latest gem while Gallardo tries to extend his scoreless inning streak against the Reds in the opener of a three-game series Friday night at Great American Ball Park.

Bailey (8-10, 3.68 ERA) compiled a 6.94 ERA in his first two August starts and seemed doomed for more problems heading into Sunday's game in Milwaukee. He had a 7.11 ERA in losing his first two starts of the season against the Brewers and was 1-7 with a 6.03 ERA against them in his career.

Bailey, however, had no trouble, yielding a run and three hits in eight innings of a 9-1 victory. The right-hander struck out eight and walked one.

"For some reason this team has usually done pretty well against me," he said. "I never really thought about it, so I just kind of went out there and tried to pitch a little bit.

"Since we have seen these guys so many times, I am starting to get a better feel for them."

His counterpart has seemingly always had a feel of how to pitch to the Reds.

Gallardo (9-9, 4.68) has a 2.49 ERA in his last eight starts in the series and hasn't allowed a run to the Reds in 12 1-3 innings spanning his last two outings.

The right-hander gave up three hits in 6 1-3 innings of Saturday's 2-0 win. It was his first game since July 30 after a stint on the disabled list for a strained hamstring.

"Obviously it has not been the year I wanted to have," said Gallardo, whose ERA is the worst of his career. "But that is in the past. My focus is on finishing the season strong and today was a good step forward."

These teams split last weekend's four-game set at Miller Park, but the Reds have dominated the series in Cincinnati. They're 25-8 in the last 33 meetings there, going 5-1 this season.

Cincinnati improved to a season-high 18 games over .500 with Thursday's 2-1 win over Arizona, its 12 victory in 16 games.

Brandon Phillips had a run-scoring groundout to put the Reds (73-55) up 1-0 in the third inning, but his six-game hitting streak ended. He was 10 for 25 during the run and had two of the hits off Gallardo on Saturday.

Brewers rookie Khris Davis accounted for two of the hits off Bailey on Sunday, including a homer, and he had a career-best three hits Wednesday as Milwaukee (55-72) fell 8-6 to St. Louis for its third loss in four games.

Davis is batting .444 with three home runs and seven runs during an eight-game hitting streak. He went 6 for 11 with a pair of homers last weekend against the Reds.

"He keeps showing he can hang in there. He works the count well, which I really like," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's an aggressive swinger, but he's not a hacker."

The Brewers expect to have All-Star Carlos Gomez back in the lineup after he sprained his right knee making a leaping catch to rob Phillips of a hit last Thursday. Although he leads the team with 18 homers and 25 doubles, his return might not help Milwaukee much considering he's batting .121 against Cincinnati this year and is 2 for 15 lifetime against Bailey.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto is 2 for 15 with eight walks versus Gallardo since 2011.

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