Reds try to lock up series win over Rockies

9:50 AM, Sep 1, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Reds look to secure a series victory on Sunday afternoon as they conclude a three-game set with the Colorado Rockies, who will have Tyler Chatwood back in their rotation.

The Reds are in the thick of the playoff chase, holding a six-game edge on the Arizona Diamondbacks for the league's second wild card spot. They also trail the NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates by only 3 1/2 contests.

Cincinnati has won just three of its past eight games, evening this series with Saturday's 8-3 win behind Brandon Phillips and starter Greg Reynolds.

Phillips homered and drove in two runs to give him a career-high 99 RBI on the season, while Reynolds had one of the best performances of his career against the club that took him second overall in the 2006 draft.

Reynolds hurled a career-high eight innings and limited the Rockies to three runs on seven hits. He was rolling before giving up a two-run homer to Chris Dickerson in the eighth, but did not walk a batter on the night.

"In this ballpark you can't walk people and can't give up home runs after walking people," said Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker. "What he did really well was keep the ball down and that's important in this place."

Colorado's Todd Helton came into the game one hit shy of 2,500 for his career, but went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Juan Nicasio took the loss, touched for six runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings.

"The first inning it looked like he was trying to get loose almost," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss. "And then as the game went on, it looked like he got looser and looser. His velocity was starting to climb, but he was laboring through most of the night."

Colorado had won five of seven after taking Friday's opener and look to win the rubber match today behind the returning Chatwood.

A breakout performer for the Rockies this year, Chatwood has not pitched since July 31 because of a right elbow injury. He went 7-4 with a 3.15 earned run average through 15 starts before getting placed on the disabled list.

The 23-year-old righty allowed just one run on five hits over 5 1/3 innings of a rehab start with Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday.

"It had been a while, so it was awesome to get back out there and compete again," Chatwood told Colorado's website of the rehab outing. "I think it was just sharpness of my command, and my command wasn't there early. They were close misses, but early on I wasn't really getting strike one. So later on I started getting ahead and felt good."

Chatwood faced the Reds for the first time in his career on June 3 and lost a 3-0 decision. He allowed one run over four innings.

Mike Leake looks to put August behind him today for the Reds after going 1-1 with a 6.44 ERA over five starts in the month.

Leake is unbeaten over his last four outings, but failed to hold an early 4-0 lead in Monday's outing versus St. Louis. He did not factor into an 8-6 loss, giving up five runs on seven hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings. The righty gave back three runs in the third on a home run after Cincinnati scored four runs in the second.

The 25-year-old is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two previous meetings with the Rockies. He is 11-5 with a 3.27 ERA in 26 starts overall this season.

The Reds won two of three when the teams met in Cincinnati in May.

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