CINCINNATI -- Fifteen National League regulars entered Saturday hitting .300 or better. As the league's top run-producing team, Cincinnati boasted more than a quarter of them.
Third baseman Scott Rolen (.313), second baseman Brandon Phillips (.311), left fielder Jonny Gomes (.307) and first baseman Joey Votto (.302) each rank among the league leaders in batting. The Rockies are the only other NL team to have more than one regular with a .300 average, as they have two.
With the heart of the Reds' lineup consistently hitting and producing runs, it's no surprise that the club led the NL in hitting, runs, hits, total bases, home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage heading into Sunday's game.
"How many good at-bats can your team put together against a starting pitcher?" Rolen said. "A starting pitcher that's gotta work for the first eight outs, how many more outs can he get? When you start getting guys on base and start getting guys in scoring position, where's the ball going? You're not giving up outs, you're not giving free outs -- swinging at bad pitches, popping up, rolling over."
Last season, Votto (.322) was the only Reds player to finish with an average above .300. Phillips was second at .276.
Phillips out of lineup with sore leg
CINCINNATI -- Carrying a 15-game hitting streak, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips had to be scratched from the lineup before Sunday's game with Kansas City due to a sore leg.
Manager Dusty Baker said Phillips' leg has been bothering him ever since he got a cramp in his right hamstring on May 27 against the Pirates. He left that game and also was removed from the game in the seventh inning of Saturday's 11-5 win.
"It's a cramp that won't let go," Baker said. "Not a pull but it's like a cramp, like a knot in there. You don't want it to lead to a pull and then lose him for 10 days or two weeks."
Phillips originally was slated to bat fourth against Royals pitcher Zack Greinke with Scott Rolen getting the day off. Baker said Phillips would be available to pinch-hit but needs to take it easy on the leg. The Reds have the day off Monday.
"You hate not to have some of your big boys in against Greinke, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do," Baker said. "Then he's got tomorrow off, and he can get treatment today and all day tomorrow."
Phillips is hitting .463 during his hitting streak and has raised his average to .311. With him out of the lineup, Paul Janish got the start at second base, batting eighth.
Baker preaches rest, sits Rolen
CINCINNATI -- With nearly 100 games still left for his team in the season, Reds manager Dusty Baker emphasized the importance of making sure veterans get rest and get some time off.
Sunday was one of those days for third baseman Scott Rolen.
"We've got veterans and older players you're trying to keep healthy, it's what you've got to do," Baker said. "If not, you lose those guys and you're in bad shape. As much ball as we've been playing, as hard as we've been playing, we've still got 99 games left. That's a long way. Most people just see today. I've got to look at today, tomorrow and next month and the ensuing months."
Baker specifically pointed to Rolen, shortstop Orlando Cabrera -- who had a day off Thursday -- and reliever Arthur Rhodes as veterans he must keep a close eye on.
Baker said he went to Rolen last Sunday in Washington and asked him to give him all he could for six games, and then he would get the day off Sunday against the Royals, with an off-day following on Monday. Miguel Cairo replaced Rolen in the lineup, batting second.
Rhodes preserves scoreless streak
CINCINNATI -- It looked as if Arthur Rhodes' scoreless inning streak might finally come to an end Saturday against Kansas City, but the veteran lefty worked out of a one-out, bases loaded jam.
Rhodes (2-1, 0.32 ERA) allowed three singles in a row, but a lineout and a flyout allowed him to escape the inning and extend the streak to a current Major League-high 26 innings.
Reds manager Dusty Baker has tried to be cautious with how he uses Rhodes, especially because of soreness that has bothered his foot.
But Rhodes entered the game Saturday against the Royals in the seventh inning despite a six-run Cincinnati lead.
"They're a big-inning, rally team, and they had some big-inning rally guys coming up there," Baker said. "It doesn't always work where he's in the eighth or whatever. Sometimes the inning of decision is in the seventh. They had the top of the lineup and all the lefties coming up in that inning."
Rhodes pitched 1 2/3 innings on Thursday for his longest appearance since May 1, 2008. After Rhodes threw 23 pitches Saturday, Baker hoped he wouldn't have to use Rhodes in the series finale with Kansas City -- which, with the off-day Monday, would give him two days off.
"See, he wasn't the same yesterday," Baker said. "I know my personnel. Every once in a while, he'll say he can't go, but he won't say it often. I have to say it for him sometimes, or to him, I should say."
Matt Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.