Reds try to keep bats going while Arizona seeks stopper

Published 2:30 am Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CINCINNATI — One team is looking for a start and the other is looking for a stop.

A weekend series in Cleveland seemed to give the Cincinnati Reds’ offense a little jump start. That’s why the Arizona Diamondbacks will be looking to Dan Haren to apply the brakes.

Haren has been dominating against National League hitters despite a 6-5 record. The D-Backs right-hander has a 2.25 earned run average and opposing batters are hitting a paltry .191 against him.

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Meanwhile, the Reds lost the series opener last Friday to the Indians but bounced back to win the next two games as they scored 15 runs and banged out 28 hits.

“The guys are starting to swing. We knew they could hit, we’re just looking for some consistency so we can get rolling,” said Reds’ manager Dusty Baker.

“Hitting is contagious.”

The hitting bug may have started last Thursday with the return of first baseman Joey Votto from the disabled list. Votto has the team’s top batting average and was leading the Reds in runs batted in before going on the DL.

Second baseman Brandon Phillips caught the hitting bug on Sunday as he celebrated his 28th birthday with three hits and three RBIs.

“It was good to do something positive, especially against my former team and on my birthday,” said Phillips.

Jonny Gomes hit his fourth home run in Sunday’s 8-1 win and Ramon Hernandez had a singled, double and triple and also drove home three runs.

Pitching will be the key for Arizona just like it has been the key this season for the Reds who climbed back to the .500 mark.

Bronson Arroyo will work the series opener for the Reds. Arroyo is 8-6 with a not-so-impressive 5.54 ERA. He has 50 strikeouts and 35 walks in 92.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .280 against the Reds’ right-hander.