Reds-Padres Preview

MATT BECKER (STATS Senior Writer)
The Associated Press

After breaking out of a brief slump, the Cincinnati Reds could have trouble coming up with a repeat performance.

The San Diego Padres' offense could also be in for a difficult time.

In what could be a somewhat unlikely Saturday night pitchers' duel, the Reds' Homer Bailey looks to remain unbeaten against a Padres team that counters with Clayton Richard, one of baseball's hottest pitchers in recent weeks.

Cincinnati (45-38) scored more than one run for the first time in four games and ended a three-game skid with Friday's 6-0 victory at Petco Park. Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier and Ryan Hanigan all homered for the Reds, who had gone deep twice in their previous six games.

"You just keep swinging and good things happen and it did happen,'' manager Dusty Baker said. "You can't keep a good team down forever.''

While the bats came to life for Cincinnati, which remained one game behind NL Central-leading Pittsburgh, Bronson Arroyo shut down San Diego's offense by tossing a three-hitter. The Padres (34-51) had only one runner reach second base as their season-high six-game winning streak - which included a 2-1 victory in Thursday's series opener - came to an end.

San Diego's task may not be any easier against Bailey (6-6, 4.24), who gave up two runs and five hits while striking out seven over eight innings of Monday's 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bailey has been at his best on the road, going 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his last five starts away from Great American Ball Park. The right-hander has also always given San Diego trouble, going 3-0 with a 3.48 ERA in five career starts and posting a 1.93 ERA while winning his last two outings against the Padres.

Richard (6-8, 3.64) hasn't enjoyed the same sort of success against the Reds, going 0-1 with a 5.57 ERA in four career starts, but he has been pitching like an All-Star lately. The left-hander is 4-1 with a 1.70 ERA in his last five outings, and has yielded two runs or fewer in seven of his last 10.

Against Arizona on Monday, Richard came within one out of his first complete game since 2010, permitting eight hits and a walk while striking out two in a 6-2 win. He allowed consecutive two-out, ninth-inning hits to Ryan Roberts and Gerardo Parra before being lifted.

"I smelled it but I couldn't reach it," Richard said. "I really wanted to finish that one out but wasn't able to do it.''

Although Richard is limiting left-handed batters to a .194 average and has surrendered just one of his 14 homers to lefties, the two All-Star lefty batters in the middle of Cincinnati's lineup have given him problems in the past. Jay Bruce is 4 for 8 with a pair of doubles off Richard, while Joey Votto is 3 for 8 with a homer and a double.

Votto hit his major league-leading 35th double Friday and walked twice to bump his on-base percentage up to .468, also the best in baseball.

San Diego third baseman Chase Headley singled Friday, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. He only has one multihit game during his run and is 1 for 6 lifetime against Bailey.