Belisle seeks his first win in more than two months, while the Reds hope to end a five-game losing streak Friday night when they open a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cincinnati (45-64) has been outscored 34-9 during the five-game skid, one shy of its season high set May 22-27.
The Reds, owners of the worst record in the NL, are 14-14 since manager Pete Mackanin replaced Jerry Narron on July 1. Cincinnati is likely headed for its seventh straight losing season.
One of the worst pitching staffs in the NL has been the biggest culprit in the dismal year. The Reds are 14th in the NL with a 4.81 ERA, and rank last in runs and hits allowed.
Belisle (5-8, 5.30 ERA) hasn’t won in more than two months, going 0-4 with a 6.63 ERA in 10 starts since beating Houston on May 29. He allowed four runs - two on a home run to Derrek Lee in the seventh inning - and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings Sunday in a 6-0 home loss to Cincinnati.
“It was definitely better,” Belisle said. “I threw a lot more quality off-speed pitches in fastball counts, but I gave up a bad mistake to the wrong guy.”
Belisle should be happy to be starting against the Pirates for the third time this season and fourth in his career. He’s 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts against Pittsburgh, and allowed two runs and nine hits over 15 innings in two outings in 2007.
Gonzalez’s home run came in his first game since July 13. He missed 18 games to be with his hospitalized young son.
The Pirates (44-62) haven’t had much more success than the Reds, and will likely finish with a losing record for the 15th consecutive season.
Pittsburgh ended a four-game skid Wednesday with a 15-1 rout of St. Louis, and pulled out a 5-4, 11-inning win Thursday afternoon. Jose Castillo singled home Ryan Doumit with two outs in the 11th, giving the Pirates back-to-back wins following a 2-14 slide just after the All-Star break
Five relievers limited the Cardinals to one run and four hits over the final six innings.
“Our bullpen was terrific today, it goes without saying,” manager Jim Tracy said. “The two innings we got from Salomon (Torres) to keep them in check and give us an opportunity to score the run that won the game was terrific.”
Ian Snell (7-9, 3.66) has also been struggling, although not to the extent of Belisle. Snell has lost a career-high four straight starts, but had his best outing in nearly a month Sunday in a 5-1 loss at Philadelphia. He gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, walking three and striking out seven, including six in a row.
Snell, who has a 7.71 ERA during his four-game losing streak, has pitched much better at home, going 6-3 with a 2.84 ERA in 10 starts at PNC Park.
He’s 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts this season against the Reds.
Cincinnati’s Javier Valentin is 6-for-10 with two homers against Snell.
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