Though the Cincinnati Reds appear to be in good position to reach the postseason, they still can't afford to see the injuries begin to pile up.
The Reds hope to go injury-free Thursday when they try to take their four-game home set from the Arizona Diamondbacks .
One night after starter Tony Cingrani left with a strained lower back in the fourth inning of a 5-2 loss, reliever Jonathan Broxton apparently re-aggravated a right elbow injury in the eighth of Wednesday's 10-7 victory.
While it appears Cingrani will make his next scheduled start Sunday, Broxton's status remains uncertain.
The veteran set-up man missed almost two months this season with an elbow injury."It was disheartening to go get Broxton," manager Dusty Baker said. "I went out with (pitching coach) Bryan Price. BP said, `He's done." '
Third in the NL Central, Cincinnati (72-55) is 2 1/2 games behind first-place Pittsburgh, but has a six-game lead over Arizona (65-60) for the final wild-card spot. That still doesn't mean the Reds can afford injuries to key contributors down the stretch.
A healthy Shin-Soo Choo went 4 for 5 with a homer Wednesday as the Reds won for the 11th time in 15 games.
Choo was 1 for 7 in the first two games of the set, but broke out for his second four-hit game of the year as Cincinnati prevailed despite almost blowing an 8-0 lead."It was the epitome of a full moon," Baker said. "We were riding easy 8-0, then all the sudden it was 8-4. A lot of stuff happened. Those guys (Diamondbacks) didn't give up."
Scheduled Cincinnati starter Mat Latos (12-4, 3.02 ERA) was a tough-luck 2-0 loser at Milwaukee on Saturday, allowing two runs in seven innings. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA in his last six starts."That's just the way the game goes," said Latos, who allowed both runs in the fourth inning of his last start. "Two runs will beat you on any given day."
He's given up three runs while winning two straight against the Diamondbacks. One of those runs came when he matched a career high with 13 strikeouts over 7 2-3 innings of a 4-2 win June 23 to improve to 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven starts against them.
Arizona All-Star Paul Goldschmidt is 2 for 8 versus Latos, but 8 for 22 (.364) with two homers and seven RBIs in the last five games.
Teammate Gerardo Parra , who homered off Broxton on Wednesday, is 6 for 16 against Latos.
The Diamondbacks hand the ball to Trevor Cahill (4-10, 4.78), who hopes for a better performance than Saturday in his return from a 1 1/2-month stint on the disabled list with a hip injury.
Cahill allowed four runs on two homers in five innings, but Arizona won 15-5 at Pittsburgh.
"I didn't pitch great, but we won, so I'm just going to use that as positive and look at some video and work on some stuff," Cahill, who went 0-6 with a 7.91 ERA over his previous eight starts, told the Diamondbacks' official website.
This will be the right-hander's first appearance against the Reds, but Choo is 4 for 6 with three walks in their matchups.
|August 12, 2013||Cody Ross||15-Day DL||Dislocated right hip|
|August 11, 2013||Cody Ross||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right hip|
|August 10, 2013||Eric Chavez||15-Day DL||Hip and knee injuries|
|July 29, 2013||Miguel Montero||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|July 26, 2013||Aaron Hill||Day-to-Day||Hamstring tightness|
|July 09, 2013||Eric Chavez||Day-to-Day||Stiff right hip|
|August 21, 2013||Jonathan Broxton||Day-to-Day||Left game - elbow|
|August 20, 2013||Tony Cingrani||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained lower back|
|August 08, 2013||Corky Miller||15-Day DL||Right quad contusion|
|August 07, 2013||Corky Miller||Day-to-Day||Right quad contusion|
|July 20, 2013||Derrick Robinson||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|July 10, 2013||Ryan Hanigan||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Before the game, Dusty Baker didn't know who his closer would be. The Cincinnati Reds manager's eventual choice turned out just right.
Sam LeCure overcame two ninth-inning hits and earned the save in the Reds' 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Shin-Soo Choo scored the decisive run in the eighth inning on Arizona's fourth wild pitch of the game.
Choo scored both Cincinnati runs, helping the Reds to their third win in the four-game series. Cincinnati (73-55) improved to a season-high 18 games over .500 and increased its lead over Arizona to seven games in the race for the National League's second wild-card playoff spot.
Choo singled to lead off the eighth against reliever Eury De La Rosa (0-1) and moved to second when De La Rosa's pickoff attempt rolled away from first baseman Paul Goldschmidt . Todd Frazier sacrificed Choo to third, and Choo scored when ball four to Joey Votto was a wild pitch.
Mat Latos (13-4) went eight innings and earned the win, despite getting sick before he took the mound. In his previous three starts, Latos had received only five runs of offensive support.
Baker was forced to use his closer Aroldis Chapman for two innings Wednesday night, making him unavailable Thursday. So LeCure was given the chance to earn his first major league save.
"Sam is our utility guy," Baker said. "He can go long or short. He has a lot of guts."
Latos made the most of two runs on Thursday, allowing just one run and five hits to Arizona. Latos struck out seven, didn't walk anyone, and hit one batter with a pitch.
"I was sick right before the first inning," said Latos, who couldn't even keep water down. "I was sick again in the fifth inning. It's gone now but I didn't have anything left in the tank."
Latos managed to save the bullpen.
"Latos gave us what we wanted," Baker said. "A security guard told me he was vomiting underneath the stands."
Arizona starter Trevor Cahill , in his second start since coming off the disabled list, allowed four hits and one run. He walked three, struck out seven and threw three wild pitches - all in the third inning.
"He struggled that inning," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "They scored two runs on four wild pitches and an error. It's very frustrating, disappointing."
Cahill allowed two hits but still faced the minimum 12 batters over his final four innings, with help from a caught stealing and a double-play ball.
In the third, the Reds put runners on second and third with one out. Brandon Phillips cashed in the opportunity with a run-scoring groundout for a 1-0 lead. Cahill entered the game with 11 wild pitches this season, and now has a major league-high 14.
The Diamondbacks took a more conventional route in getting even 1-1 in fourth. Adam Eaton and Goldschmidt led off with singles, Arizona's first hits off of Latos. Martin Prado hit into a double play, but Aaron Hill rapped a sharp one-hopper that third baseman Frazier couldn't handle. Hill was credited with a run-scoring infield hit.
LeCure told himself he needed three outs like any other inning.
"I didn't want to even let myself think of being the closer. I knew there was a possibility," LeCure said. "Chapman is our closer but I did tell him to watch out."
Baker selected LeCure because he is fearless.
"He doesn't have the best stuff, but he's not afraid," Baker said. "Sam was the best man. He knows how to pitch. I knew he wouldn't get rattled if there were runners on."
NOTES: Cincinnati RHP Jonathan Broxton is expected to have surgery after he was placed on the disabled list with a strained right forearm. ... The Reds moved RHP Johnny Cueto to the 60-day disabled list to open a roster spot for RHP Nick Christiani, who was called up from Triple-A Louisville. ... Arizona C Miguel Montero was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk. INF Willie Bloomquist was 2-for-3 with a run scored on Wednesday while on rehab assignments with the team's rookie-level Arizona League affiliate. ... LHP Wade Miley (9-8) is Arizona's scheduled starter in Friday's opener of a three-game series at Philadelphia. RHP Homer Bailey (8-10) is due to start at home for the Reds against Milwaukee.