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ARI@STL: McCarthy tosses six strong innings vs. Cards

Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto will look to continue the best season of his career against the D-backs at Chase Field tonight.

In seven starts against the D-backs, Cueto is 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA. He has struck out 38 D-backs hitters in 42 1/3 innings.

But Cueto has never had a season like this before. After missing most of 2013 with various injuries, he has come back stronger than ever.

Cueto leads the Major Leagues in innings pitched (83 2/3), strikeouts (83), complete games (3), shutouts (2), WHIP (0.753) and hits per nine innings (4.6). In addition, he's fourth in the Majors with a 1.83 ERA, trailing only the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright, the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija and the Braves' Julio Teheran.

He's also posting career-best numbers in strikeouts per nine innings (9.14) and walks per nine innings (2.15).

In short, he's been nothing less than dominant.

However, his incredible performance doesn't mean the D-backs will roll over for Cueto. They have batters who have hit him well in the past.

In six career at-bats against the Cincinnati right-hander, D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has two hits, including a home run. Third baseman Martin Prado, the usual No. 5 hitter, has five hits in 16 at-bats against Cueto, including a double and a home run.

Right fielder Gerardo Parra also has some success against Cueto, getting four hits -- two of which were home runs -- in 14 at-bats.

Cueto doesn't have much run support this season. He's gotten four or fewer runs in nine of his 11 starts with an average of 3.19 runs.

The D-backs, on the other hand, come in averaging six runs in their last five games.

"It's the way it is. That's how baseball is. That's how the game goes," Cueto said through a translator. "All you have to do every time you go out there is do your job. Everybody else has to do their own job. I did my job."

D-backs: Pollock taking to leadoff spot
Since moving to the leadoff spot against both lefties and righties six games ago, center fielder A.J. Pollock is hitting .550 with a .591 on-base percentage.

For most of the season, Pollock would primarily hit leadoff against left-handers while right fielder Gerardo Parra would be penciled in against right-handers.

Overall, Pollock has a .417 on-base percentage at the leadoff spot, so it was suggested to manager Kirk Gibson that he has found his leadoff hitter for the rest of the season.

"I don't think you can assume he's there to stay," Gibson said. "You always have to keep an eye on it."

Reds: Offense struggling to score
After Friday night's win against the D-backs, the Reds having been held to three runs or fewer in six of their last seven games. Five of those outings ended in losses.

The Reds entered Friday's game 29th in the Major Leagues in runs scored, so manager Bryan Price has tried adjusting his lineups. It worked Friday, as the Reds scored six runs and squared the series with the D-backs.

"It's really a matter of them collectively being willing to look at our approach and find a way to fight their way on base and get guys in," Price said. "We have to catch some lightning. We haven't been able to put things together where we have substantial offensive runs and knocking their starter out."

Worth noting
• D-backs starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy has a 3.79 ERA in his last six starts. In two of those games, he gave up a combined 12 runs, but in the other four he gave up only four runs total.

• In his second rehab assignment start for Triple-A Louisville on Friday, Mat Latos pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed three hits and two walks with three strikeouts. He threw 81 pitches, 46 of which were strikes.

• The Reds have hit into five double plays in the first two games of their series against the D-backs. Comments