After enjoying a much-needed strong offensive effort, the Cincinnati Reds hope to give Johnny Cueto the run support his teammates feel he deserves.
The right-hander looks to avoid losing a third straight start Saturday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Cueto (4-4, 1.83 ERA) ranks among the major league ERA leaders, but is near the bottom of baseball with an average run support of 2.80. Cincinnati (24-29) has scored one time with Cueto on the mound while he's allowed 12 runs - seven earned - in 11 2-3 innings of his last two outings.
"It's the way it is. That's how baseball is," Cueto told the Reds' official website via a translator. "That's how the game goes. All you have to do every time you go out there, is do your job. Everybody else has to do their own job."
For the fourth time in 2014, the Reds failed to score when Cueto pitched. He gave up three unearned runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 loss at Dodger Stadium on Monday.
''I know we have not done a great job scoring runs for him this year, and it's frustrating," teammate Chris Heisey said. "The guy's pitching his tail off for us and keeping us in every game.''
Cueto allowed seven runs and 18 hits over 38 innings while going 5-0 in his first six starts against the Diamondbacks, then yielded the same amount of runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings of an 11-5 loss at Arizona (23-34) on June 21.
The Reds scored three runs four times and were shut out twice while losing five of six before pounding out 11 hits in Friday's 6-4 victory that evened the four-game set. Catcher Devin Mesoraco hit a grand slam off ex-Red Bronson Arroyo and added a solo shot as Cincinnati improved to 2-3 on its seven-game trip.
Three of Mesoraco's four hits in his last 14 at-bats have left the park. He's 6 for 16 in his last five games versus Arizona, and 2 for 2 versus Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy (1-6, 4.87).
The right-hander allowed two runs and nine hits in 14 innings of his previous two starts before allowing five - four on two homers - and also nine hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-5 win over San Diego on Monday while not factoring in the decision of his third straight outing.
In his only previous start against the Reds on Aug. 21, McCarthy gave up seven runs and eight hits in 2 1-3 innings of a 10-7 defeat at Cincinnati.
Teammate A.J. Pollock recorded his third three-hit game through the first five of a seven-game homestand during which he's 11 for 20 with five doubles and nine runs scored.
He's never faced Cueto.
Arizona's Gerardo Parra and Martin Prado, meanwhile, are a combined 9 for 25 (.360) with three home runs and three doubles versus Cueto.