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CIN@MIA: Latos strikes out eight over 7 2/3 innings

Although the Reds couldn't get a victory on Friday night to clinch the National League Central, they'll get a second shot on Saturday as they take on the Dodgers in Cincinnati.

"I feel like we're in a good spot," Reds reliever Sean Marshall said after Friday's 3-1 loss in 10 innings. "We're 11 games up ... and that's a good spot to be for us. It would have been nice if we had pulled off the win, but we've got another game tomorrow and another chance to clinch the division tomorrow. We'll just come back and hopefully clinch it tomorrow."

With their magic number at one, a win against Los Angeles or a Cardinals loss to the Cubs will get the Reds that coveted division crown.

It's even possible that the team could have its fate decided before it takes the field, as the Cardinals-Cubs game is slated for a 1:05 p.m. ET first pitch, while the Dodgers-Reds game is at 4:05 p.m..

And if manager Dusty Baker is released from a Chicago hospital, where he's being treated for an irregular heartbeat, he could celebrate the occasion with his team.

On the hill for the Reds will be right-hander Mat Latos. In his last 16 starts, Latos is 7-2 with a 2.71 ERA, which has dropped his season ERA from 5.20 to 3.76.

Latos, who has tossed at least six innings in four straight outings, allowed four runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings against the Marlins for his second straight no-decision.

Meanwhile, Stephen Fife, who has replaced ace Clayton Kershaw in the rotation as he recovers from a right hip injury, will take the hill for the Dodgers.

Getting a much-needed shot in the arm with Friday's 3-1 win, the Dodgers moved just two games back of the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.

"We just have to be consistent and do the little things to win some games," said Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who delivered the decisive two-run single in the 10th on Friday. "We just have to keep grinding."

Fife didn't factor into his last decision on Sunday against the Cardinals, allowing two runs on four hits in five innings. He also struck out a career-high nine batters in a tough 5-2 loss in 12 innings.

"Every time he's gotten the ball he's pitched well," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He's been really good."

Dodgers: Kershaw throws bullpen session
• Kershaw threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Friday as he attempts to return to the rotation with a right hip impingement.

Kershaw said he was able to throw all of his pitches during the session and was hopeful he could make another start as the team fights for a Wild Card berth.

The left-hander wouldn't talk about the details of his injury or if he will need surgery to repair a torn labrum, which had been speculated.

• Injured starter Chad Billingsley played catch Friday for the first time since receiving a pair of injections as he attempts to avoid Tommy John surgery for a partially torn elbow ligament.

Reds: Baker stays in Chicago hospital
• Cincinnati was again without Baker for Friday's series opener against the Dodgers. With doctors concerned about the skipper traveling back to Cincinnati, they decided to keep him in a Chicago hospital for one more day.

Baker received fluids on Friday as he continues to be treated for an irregular heartbeat.

"I think bottom line, I'm worried," acting manager Chris Speier said. "You have your good, good close friend that's in the hospital. He's fine, it's just, they want to make sure before they put him on the plane that he had some fluids and make sure that's all taken care of. But you worry about him. He's our leader, and for me just a dear, dear friend. My mind is more with him than it is about this game."

Worth noting
• The 2012 Reds are only the 15th team in Major League history and the first since the 2009 Braves to produce at least six pitchers with at least 100 strikeouts.

• Dodgers reliever Brandon League has allowed just one run in his last 16 appearances (17 1/3 innings) since Aug. 21.

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