Reds-Cubs Preview

The Associated Press

Paul Maholm faced the Cincinnati Reds every season until he somehow managed to avoid seeing them in 2011.

The Reds may be looking forward to reacquainting themselves with the left-hander.

Maholm has been awful in his first two outings for the Chicago Cubs, who are looking to break a six-game slide Saturday as they host Cincinnati.

After spending his first seven seasons in the NL Central with Pittsburgh, Maholm (0-2, 13.50 ERA) signed a one-year, $4.25 million contract with Chicago (3-11) in January. He has allowed six runs and six hits over four innings in each of his first two outings, most recently Sunday's 10-3 loss at St. Louis.

Maholm is 0-7 with a 7.03 ERA in nine starts since his last win July 10 against the Cubs.

"I couldn't tell you the last time I won," he said. "So my goal is to go out there and go seven innings and win the game no matter how the outing before went or whether it was good or bad, and that's what I'm going to expect next (game) when I take it."

Maholm went 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA in nine starts against Cincinnati (6-8) from 2008-10. He has fared well versus Joey Votto (3 for 20) and Jay Bruce (2 for 15) while Brandon Phillips has a .354 average against him.

Tilting this matchup even further in favor of the Reds could be how Mike Leake (0-1, 5.84) has pitched against the Cubs in his career, going 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA in seven starts.

He's gone at least six innings in all of those games, and Chicago's Alfonso Soriano (1 for 13) and Geovany Soto (1 for 12) have had virtually no success against him.

Leake was outstanding over his final two 2011 starts, going 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA - both against the Cubs. The right-hander gave up five runs over 6 1-3 innings in Sunday's 8-5, 11-inning win at Washington.

The Reds posted their highest-scoring 2012 effort with Friday's 9-4 victory to open this three-game set. Cincinnati batted around in a four-run first inning and became the sixth franchise to win 10,000 games.

"When you look at 30 different teams and being one of six, it's a pretty cool thing," outfielder Drew Stubbs said. "To be a part of it is pretty special."

Stubbs recorded his second straight three-hit game and drove in two runs while Bruce added two hits and scored twice.

The sloppy game featured five errors as winds blowing in gusted up to 27 mph, with the game-time temperature at 35 degrees with the wind chill. The conditions caused manager Dusty Baker to rest Phillips, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury.

"With this weather like it is and this wind blowing, that tightens your hamstrings up, big time," the former Cubs manager told the Reds' official website. "If you have one long inning, or with the wet conditions you slip on the infield or the wet grass or going back on the ball ... it's best for him."

Chicago is on its longest slide since an eight-game skid May 30-June 7.

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