Rockies-Reds Preview

The Associated Press

The Cincinnati Reds' winning streak over the Colorado Rockies is over.

Johnny Cueto won't be available to help them start a new one Wednesday night in the rubber game in Cincinnati.

After winning 3-0 on Monday, the Reds (36-23) were denied a club-record seventh straight win over Colorado (31-28), falling 5-4 on Tuesday. Troy Tulowitzki's two-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning helped the Rockies snap a three-game skid at Great American Ball Park.

"It doesn't get any more clutch than that," manager Walt Weiss said of Tulowitzki, who is tied with Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips among the NL leaders with 45 RBIs.

The Rockies go for their first set of back-to-back wins outside Denver since sweeping San Diego from April 12-14, but that could be asking a lot as Cincinnati has yet to drop two in a row at home all season.

The Reds, however, will be without scheduled starter Cueto (3-0, 2.17 ERA), who was scratched and put on the disabled list with a sore muscle by his pitching shoulder.

Cueto was also on the DL from April 15 to May 19 with a strained muscle by the back of his right shoulder. He made three starts after his return, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA. He allowed only one hit in eight innings of a 6-0 win in Pittsburgh on Friday, but told the Reds afterward that the muscle was bothering him again.

"It's the same thing he had before,'' manager Dusty Baker said. "He felt it a little bit after he pitched in Pittsburgh. He told us after the game he felt it. It's not as bad as last time. We want to be precautious with it.''

The Reds plan to call up Pedro Villarreal, who was on turn to start for Triple-A Louisville. The 25-year-old right-hander, who is 1-3 with a 5.03 ERA in 11 minor league starts, made one relief appearance for Cincinnati last season. Wednesday's start will be his first in the majors.

Michael Cuddyer will try to extend his hitting streak to nine. He's batting .424 during that run with two homers and seven RBIs.

Tulowitzki, who has hit safely in 17 of 19, is a .371 hitter in 18 games in Cincinnati.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto is 1 for 8 in this series, but he's batting .342 versus Colorado lifetime. The former MVP is 4 for 7 with a homer off Wednesday's starter Jon Garland (3-6, 5.81).

The veteran right-hander is coming off a tough May, going 0-4 with a 7.27 ERA in his last five starts that month after yielding five runs in five innings of Friday's 7-5, 10-inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Right now I feel like I'm just bad, to be honest with you,'' said Garland, who avoided matching a career-worst fifth consecutive losing start.

Weiss didn't want to talk about "the future or hypotheticals" regarding Garland's spot in the rotation, but a bad start Wednesday could force a change, especially after Roy Oswalt delivered another strong start at Double-A Tulsa on Tuesday.

Garland is 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA in four starts versus Cincinnati, none since 2010 with San Diego.

It's doubtful he'll face Phillips, who has missed the last three games with a bruised left forearm. Phillips, though, appears to be heading in the right direction after taking batting practice and grounders Tuesday.

"We don't want him to miss a Cardinals game," Baker told the Reds' official website. "But we want him right, too."

The Reds have two series wins and a split in the Rockies' last three visits.

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