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Cardinals try to hang close in NL Central against Reds

10:11 AM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
Apr. 2, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia reacts following the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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(Sports Network) - Veteran Bronson Arroyo can pitch the Cincinnati Reds into first place in the National League's Central Division on Tuesday night when they meet the St. Louis Cardinals in the second of three games at Busch Stadium.

The Reds gained a game on the Cardinals with a 2-1 victory in the series opener on Monday and now sit tied with St. Louis in second place, a half-game behind the front-running Pittsburgh Pirates, who lost Monday in Milwaukee.

The Brewers are fourth in the division, a game behind Pittsburgh.

Arroyo, who's made 328 big-league starts, dropped a 5-1 verdict in St. Louis when the teams met there on April 9. The Key West, Fla. native was nicked for five hits and four runs in six innings while walking a batter and striking out two.

The loss dropped him to 8-14 in 34 career meetings with the Cardinals - including 3-7 at Busch.

In three starts since, he's 1-1 with a no-decision while lowering his earned run average from 5.25 to 4.24.

St. Louis starts lefty Jaime Garcia, who's 8-2 in 14 career meetings with the Reds, but got a no-decision in an April 8 start.

In that game, a 13-4 Cincinnati win, Garcia was lifted after 6 2/3 innings after allowing three runs on six hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts.

He's also 1-1 with a no-decision since, including a 4-2 at Washington in an April 24 outing, in which he allowed a run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Garcia is 20-11 in his career at home, versus 16-13 on the road.

On Monday, Mat Latos spun six scoreless innings of five-hit ball in the Reds' series-opening victory.

Latos (2-0) walked three and struck out four while extending his scoreless streak to 17 innings in earning his second victory in as many starts. Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth to nail down his sixth save of the season.

Joey Votto collected two hits and knocked in a run, while Xavier Paul's RBI ground out in the fourth proved to be the difference for the Reds, who have won two straight.

"That run ended up being the deciding run," Paul said. "That's the one thing about baseball, every at-bat counts, especially when you're in an RBI situation."

St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright (4-2) was a hard-luck loser, giving up both runs on five hits while fanning six over seven solid frames.

"He had a little tough time finding the strike zone and really finding the release point on his fastball early on, but made some good adjustments and looked sharp," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "The start gave us a chance, just didn't capitalize."

Yadier Molina recorded three hits and plated the lone run for St. Louis, which has dropped three straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak.

St. Louis won two of three games in an early April series at Busch Stadium and won eight of 15 games overall last season. The Reds last won the season series in 2011.

 

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