It didn't take long for the Cincinnati Reds ' Shin-Soo Choo to have an impact against his former team.
Choo and the surging Reds try to hand the Cleveland Indians a season worst-tying fifth consecutive loss as these Ohio rivals meet again Tuesday night in Cincinnati.
Acquired from Cleveland (27-23) in a three-team trade this offseason, Choo led off the bottom of the first inning with his team-leading 10th homer then scored on Joey Votto 's tiebeaking two-run shot in the eighth during Monday's 4-2 win. Choo, who entered the day mired in a 1-for-21 slump, raised his average back up to .290.
Votto is batting .448 with five homers, 18 runs and 12 RBIs over his last 15 games. He's also hitting .325 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in his last 13 home matchups against the Indians.
"Whether he's frustrated or had two bad at-bats previous to his last at-bat, you never count that guy out," Monday's starter Mike Leake told MLB's official website.
While Cincinnati (32-19) has won six off seven and 13 of its last 16, the Indians have been going in the opposite direction.
Cleveland has dropped six of seven, including its last four by a 25-12 margin. Carlos Santana has two hits in 14 at-bats over that stretch and Michael Bourn is 2 for 12. Drew Stubbs , acquired in the Choo trade, singled Monday but is 4 for his last 26.
"This is a little bit of a tough stretch," manager Terry Francona said. "We're getting tested, and we're going to figure it out. We're going to battle through it."
The Indians, who dropped five straight April 14-19, have been outscored 35-16 during a five-game losing streak in Cincinnati. These clubs play two more games in Cleveland following Tuesday's contest.
The Indians will try to get back on track behind Zach McAllister (4-3, 2.89 ERA), who's yielded three earned runs or fewer in all nine of his outings. He surrendered three and five hits over five innings Thursday in a 12-3 victory at Boston.
Cleveland has won each of McAllister's last five starts, during which he's gone 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA. The right-hander, though, owns a 3.97 road ERA - nearly two runs higher than his 2.16 mark at home. He'll be making his first appearance versus Cincinnati.
The Reds give the ball to Mat Latos (4-0, 3.17), who didn't factor in the decision of Wednesday's 7-4 road win over the New York Mets . The right-hander allowed two runs over six innings before giving up two more in the seventh.
"Latos was very good," manager Dusty Baker said. "We just have to get him over that hump at kind of the same time in the game. Some kind of way, adverse things happened around the seventh (inning) or that 100-pitch mark."
Latos posted mixed results in two starts versus Cleveland last year. After scattering seven hits over seven innings of two-run ball in a 5-3 win June 13, he was tagged for seven runs over four innings during a 10-9 road loss five days later.
While things remained calm after Reds closer Aroldis Chapman threw two 100 mph fastballs up around Nick Swisher 's head Monday, the umpiring crew will surely be keeping a close eye on things in this game.
"I've talked to Chapman plenty of times, and he's a great kid," Jason Giambi said after hitting a pinch-hit homer. "But we're going to protect our guys, too, especially Nick, who's a big leader on this ballclub."
|May 27, 2013||Chris Perez||15-Day DL||Right shoulder soreness|
|May 26, 2013||Chris Perez||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right shoulder discomfort|
|May 01, 2013||Vinnie Pestano||15-Day DL||Right elbow tendinitis|
|May 01, 2013||Vinnie Pestano||15-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|April 30, 2013||Nick Swisher||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|April 25, 2013||Lou Marson||15-Day DL||Right shoulder soreness|
|May 21, 2013||Sean Marshall||15-Day DL||Sprained left shoulder|
|April 27, 2013||Chris Heisey||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 27, 2013||Chris Heisey||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained hamstring|
|April 24, 2013||Manny Parra||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral muscle|
|April 24, 2013||Manny Parra||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral muscle|
|April 22, 2013||Jonathan Broxton||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Even on a night when the Reds stranded runners willy-nilly, they still came away with a lopsided win.
Says a lot about how they're playing these days.
Xavier Paul singled home a pair of runs in the first inning, and Cincinnati completed a two-game home sweep of the Cleveland Indians with an 8-2 victory on Tuesday night that was free of any up-and-in acrimony.
The intrastate rivals headed to Cleveland for two more games. The Indians lead the all-time series 42-41.
The Reds have won 14 of their past 17 games overall, leaving them with the second-best record in the majors at 33-19. They trail NL Central-leading St. Louis.
"As a team, we're feeling great," Paul said. "We're pitching real well and hitting real well, and we've finally started to win some games on the road, which is great."
Cleveland has dropped five straight - matching its season high - and seven of eight.
Mat Latos (5-0) handled a slumping lineup, allowing one run in 6 1-3 innings. The Indians have been outscored 33-14 during their losing streak.
"The last two starts, everything has felt good," Latos said. "My mechanics have been in sync with my arm feeling great. I had some good stuff against a good-hitting lineup."
The Reds had 18 hits, one shy of their season high, but stranded 12 runners. Cincinnati repeatedly wasted chances before pulling away in the seventh.
"We had a lot of opportunities," manager Dusty Baker said. "I didn't like the way the game was going. We were leaving them out there."
Paul's two-run single put the Reds ahead 3-0 in the first against Zach McAllister (4-4). The Reds added four in the seventh against Cleveland's struggling bullpen, with Derrick Robinson and Zack Cozart contributing RBI singles.
Cleveland's slump is in some ways reminiscent of last season. The Indians were playing well at midseason then, but won only five games in August to fall flat.
Is this starting to feel familiar?
"No, not at all," said McAllister, who gave up three runs in 5 1-3 innings. "It's a completely different team than last year, a completely different attitude. It's an exciting team."
There was one lingering issue from Cincinnati's 4-2 win in the series opener: Would the Indians retaliate for Aroldis Chapman 's inside pitches?
The Reds closer threw two of them up-and-in to Nick Swisher while closing out the game on Monday, resulting in stares.
Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips and Shin-Soo Choo were hit on Tuesday, but went to first without complaint or warning from plate umpire Chad Fairchild.
The series matching teams from Ohio's north and south has taken on an edge for the second straight year.
Last year, Indians starter Derek Lowe got hit by a Latos pitch and gestured toward Baker. Baker acknowledged that he had Latos pitch inside because Lowe had hit Joey Votto in a game three years earlier.
Choo, who came from Cleveland as part of the offseason trade for Drew Stubbs , homered in the series opener and had another solid all-around game on Tuesday. He ran down two fly balls on the warning track and opened the Reds' first inning with a double.
Cozart followed Choo's double with a bunt single, and Votto singled home a run. Paul's single made it 3-0, matching the most earned runs that McAllister has allowed in a game this season.
Stubbs singled with one out in the fifth - only Cleveland's second hit - and stole second. Michael Bourn singled off Votto's glove at first base, cutting the lead to 3-1.
The Reds failed to score despite getting at least two runners aboard in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings before breaking it open by sending nine batters to the plate in the seventh.
NOTES: Indians closer Chris Perez , who went on the 15-day DL before the start of the series, had an MRI that found mild tendinitis. He won't throw for at least five days. ... SS Asdrubal Cabrera had his seven-game hitting streak snapped. ... McAllister has gone at least five innings and given up no more than three earned runs in his past 12 starts. ... Choo has been hit by a pitch 14 times this season, most in the majors. ... RH Justin Masterson , who has won three of his past four starts, goes for Cleveland on Wednesday against RH Bronson Arroyo , who is 3-0 in his past three starts with a 1.33 ERA.
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