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The Associated Press

The Cincinnati Reds' rotation just received a blow, but the club at least knows it can still count on Johnny Cueto.

Cueto will try to take over the major league lead with his 15th victory Friday night when the visiting Reds continue a four-game set against the Colorado Rockies.

Cincinnati (60-61) announced on Thursday that Homer Bailey, who was slated to start Saturday, is headed to the disabled list with a strained right elbow.

Fortunately for the Reds, they have Cueto (14-6, 2.05 ERA) taking the mound Friday. He is 6-0 with a 2.23 ERA in his last seven starts, matching the longest single-season winning streak of his career from April 30-June 12, 2010.

He'll be trying to win five straight starts for the first time since July 8-Aug. 2, 2012.

The right-hander allowed two runs over eight innings with nine strikeouts in Sunday's 7-2 win over Miami. He leads the NL with a 0.91 WHIP and is second to Washington's Stephen Strasburg in the league with 181 strikeouts.

Cueto is 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA in six starts against the Rockies, including 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in three at Coors Field. He's had a difficult time against DJ LeMahieu, who is 5 for 8 against him.

Jay Bruce went 0 for 4 in a series-opening 7-3 loss Thursday as he returned to the lineup after missing a game with an illness.

He figures to face a difficult test Friday against Rockies starter Franklin Morales (5-6, 4.97) since Bruce is a .181 hitter against left-handed pitchers - one of baseball's worst marks.

Morales will start against the Reds for the first time after not allowing a run in 4 2-3 innings over five relief appearances against them between 2009-10.

He's 1-2 with a 3.31 ERA in six starts since re-joining the rotation July 3. That's a dramatic improvement from when he went 3-4 with a 6.13 ERA in 11 starts in the season's first two months before he was demoted to the bullpen.

Morales is limiting left-handed hitters to a .226 mark this year and .203 in his career. He has never faced the lefty-swinging batters the Reds used in their lineup Thursday in Bruce and Skip Schumaker.

The injury-plagued Rockies (47-74) have already lost star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for the season and announced Thursday that injury-riddled outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was also out for the year.

Colorado won for the fourth time in its last 18 games Thursday behind Charlie Culberson, who hit a three-run homer. Culberson made his second straight start at shortstop.

''Not Tulowitzki,'' cautioned Culberson, ''but if they put (me) in the lineup, I'll be ready to play.''

Drew Stubbs went 2 for 4 with his first RBI against the team with which he began his career from 2009-12.

The Reds have dropped 12 of their last 16 road games and 15 of their last 20 in Denver.

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