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Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

Venue: PNC Park
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To finish with another winning season, the Cincinnati Reds have to go unbeaten during a six-game road trip.

Visiting the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates for the first three might bolster their slim hopes.

Edinson Volquez will try to keep those alive Friday night by earning his first win since returning from a two-month stint in the minors.

The Reds (76-80) have long been out of contention for a second straight NL Central title, but they still have a chance to finish with 82 victories. That would give them their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1999-2000.

Cincinnati will try to start by sweeping the Pirates (69-87), losers of 10 of 13 and five of six at home. The Reds wrap up their season against another sub-.500 team, the New York Mets.

They enter the series at PNC Park with consecutive victories following a 7-14 stretch. Bronson Arroyo pitched a six-hitter in a 2-0 win over Houston on Wednesday.

Volquez (5-6, 5.87 ERA) will hope to follow Arroyo's strong outing with one of his own as he winds down a difficult season.

The right-hander has been sent to the minors twice - spending two months with Triple-A Louisville in his latest stint - and is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts since his most recent recall Sept. 3. He gave up five runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 10-1 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday.

"I want to be more aggressive and throw more strikes," Volquez said.

Volquez is 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA in six career starts against the Pirates, but gave up six runs - including three solo homers - and a season-high six walks during a 7-6 loss April 17.

The Reds have won three of four over Pittsburgh after dropping six in a row. The Pirates have already clinched their 19th consecutive losing season, but will break their string of four straight last-place finishes in the Central.

Jeff Locke will try to give his franchise a 70th win for the first time since 2004 by earning his first in the majors.

Locke (0-2, 6.75) has given up three runs and five hits in each of his two major league starts, but has also received just one run of support. With the Pirates limiting his pitches, the left-hander made it through three innings last Friday in Los Angeles, throwing 30 times in his final frame.

"The first (start), I didn't really know what to expect, didn't know how to harness the emotions," Locke told the team's website after losing 7-2 to the Dodgers. "Today I wasn't nervous at all. I just left a lot of pitches up and got into a lot of deep counts."

Locke is expected to have a limit of 75 to 80 pitches in his first start against the Reds, but will likely have to face Brandon Phillips, who is batting .348 over his past 32 games and has six homers in his last 10.

Phillips is hitting .415 in his last 10 games at PNC.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Edinson Volquez, RHP
2011 stats
96.2 Innings Pitched 8.0
5-6 Wins-Losses 0-2
5.87 Earned Run Average 6.75
62 Walks 6
94 Strikeouts 1
98 Pitches Per Start 75
Career vs. opponent
36.2 Innings Pitched -
1-0 Wins-Losses ---
3.44 Earned Run Average -

Jeff Locke, LHP
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Cincinnati2nd NL Central12.33311-2 L 2
Pittsburgh2nd NL Central12.33311-2 L 2
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Jeff Locke
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Arroyo000000
Bailey000000
Bray000000
Bruce000000
Burton000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Edinson Volquez
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
McCutchen52111.400
Doumit135002.385
Tabata62102.333
Lee112013.182
Jones61121.167
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Cincinnati -115 Pittsburgh 105
Injuries
Cincinnati
PlayerInjury
H. BaileyElbow, neck
P. MaholmKnee
S. MarshallShoulder
S. SchumakerShoulder
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
B. CumptonElbow
J. HarrisonAnkle
C. HartFoot
C. MortonHip
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 6CIN 4:10 PM EDT  
Apr 8CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Apr 9CIN12:35 PM EDT  
May 5PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
May 6PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
May 7PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Jun 23PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Jun 24PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Jun 25PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Jul 30CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Jul 31CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 1CIN   
Aug 2CIN 1:10 PM EDT  
Sep 7CIN 1:10 PM EDT  
Sep 8CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 9CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Oct 2PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Oct 3PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Oct 4PIT 1:35 PM EDT