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Reds, Latos grind to 2-1 win over D-backs

The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI - With closer Aroldis Chapman unavailable to pitch, and an already depleted bullpen down another man to injury, it took gutsy performances from right-handers Mat Latos and Sam LeCure to help the Cincinnati Reds increase their lead in the National League wild card race.

Latos overcame flu-like symptoms and allowed just one run through eight innings, and LeCure stepped in to earn his first career save, lifting Cincinnati to a 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in the finale of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

Cincinnati (73-55) took three of four in the series to increase its lead over Arizona to seven games for the National League's second wild card spot.

"We're not hot yet," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "We're just winning. We're getting warmer."

Despite vomiting on three occasions during Thursday's game, Latos (13-4) managed to allow just five hits with no walks and six strikeouts over his 102 pitches.

"Wipe it off and go back to work," said Baker of his message to Latos, who said he threw up before warmups, after the first inning, and again before the fifth.

"I didn't have much in the tank," Latos said. "I think I ate something this morning that didn't sit too well. I didn't feel too well all day. I couldn't keep water down. We were able to get outs when we needed them."

With closer Aroldis Chapman unavailable after pitching two innings on Wednesday night, LeCure allowed two hits with one strikeout in a scoreless ninth.

"I was trying to get myself to not think about it," LeCure said. "Just told myself it's just three outs, go out and attack the zone. It was nice to help out."

Cincinnati scored the go-ahead run in the eighth when Shin-Soo Choo, who went 2-for-4 and scored both Reds runs, led off with a single off left-hander Eury De La Rosa (0-1).

Choo advanced to third on a throwing error by De La Rosa and a sacrifice bunt by Todd Frazier. On a 3-2 pitch to Joey Votto, De La Rosa's throw skipped past catcher Wil Nieves for a wild pitch, Choo scored to put Cincinnati ahead 2-1.

Arizona, which utilized seven relievers pitchers in a 10-7 loss the previous night, got a huge lift from Trevor Cahill, who was 1-6 with a 7.83 ERA in his past nine starts prior to Thursday.

Cahill, facing the Reds for the first time in his career, threw just 50 of his 97 pitches for strikes and walked four with three wild pitches. But Cincinnati managed only four hits and one run off him.

Cahill credited a mechanical adjustment for his improvement on Thursday.

"My front side was not in a strong position," Cahill said. "And it was letting my arm leak out and be in position to do whatever it wanted to do. Seven innings was my goal the whole time. I knew my bullpen had been used up."

Cahill struggled in the third inning, however, when he uncorked three wild pitches leading to the game's first run. Choo singled and later scored from third on Brandon Phillips' groundout to put the Reds ahead 1-0.

"He struggled in that inning," manager Kirk Gibson said. "They scored two runs on four wild pitches and an error. We gave them five bases. Latos threw the ball well, too. We had opportunities. It's very frustrating. Not a happy series."

Latos retired the first nine batters before Eaton singled leading off the fourth. Eaton later scored from third on Aaron Hill's infield single to tie the score 1-1.

"It's extremely tough," D-backs outfielder Adam Eaton said of losing three-of-four in Cincinnati. "We came in here off a big win in Pittsburgh. Flying in here, we had high hopes. We ended up on the wrong side of things."

NOTES: Cahill issued a season-high four walks, done four times previously. He now leads the majors with 14 wild pitches. .. LeCure's only professional save came in 2011 at Triple-A Louisville. .. Reds LHP Tony Cingrani threw a bullpen session Thursday and the initial reports were positive, although his status for his next start remained uncertain. Cingrani left Tuesday's outing with a lower back strain. .. On Thursday, Reds RHP Jonathan Broxton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right flexor mass strain which will require surgery. "I had a bad feeling when I went to the mound last night," said manager Dusty Baker. "We won't know (how long) until we get in there to see what's wrong". In corresponding moves, RHP Johnny Cueto was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for RHP Nick Christiani whose contract was selected from Triple-A Louisville. .. D-backs C Miguel Montero went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk on Wednesday in a rehab appearance for the Arizona League affiliate. Montero is expected to catch nine innings by Saturday then be reevaluated before rejoining the big-league club.
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