CINCINNATI -- They saw him reach for his back on the mound. They saw him stretching in the dugout. The Arizona Diamondbacks knew Johnny Cueto was hurting.
With the exception of a comeback grounder off his leg, they couldn't touch him.
Cueto overcame a stiff back on Wednesday night, and Joey Votto singled home a sixth-inning run that sent the Cincinnati Reds to a 1-0 victory over the slumping Diamondbacks, who have trouble getting the ball out of the infield these days.
Arizona has lost nine of 11 due largely to an offense that's among the NL's worst. The Diamondbacks managed only two hits, and neither left the infield. Cueto (8-4) went six innings and allowed only an infield single that deflected off his leg. The bullpen gave up a bunt single.
"It's frustrating," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "We were in position to put a couple of good at-bats together, and we didn't."
Jon Garland (4-8) pitched six solid innings but couldn't break the longest losing streak of his career. The right-hander hasn't won since May 19, going 0-6 with a pair of no-decisions. Blame Arizona's offense, which has scored three or fewer runs in five of those games.
"I think over my last six or seven, I've gone out and given my team a pretty darn good chance to win the ballgames," Garland said. "That's my job. If I keep throwing the ball the way I did tonight and in a few of those previous ones, it will turn around."
The Diamondbacks had their best chance in the seventh, when Gerardo Parra bunted for Arizona's second hit and Arthur Rhodes loaded the bases with two outs on a pair of walks. Felipe Lopez flied out to end the threat.
Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances, completing Cincinnati's seventh shutout of the season.
Cincinnati scored in the sixth with a pair of hits over the infield. Chris Dickerson hit a soft liner to center for a single, advanced on a groundout and came around on Votto's single to center, another ball that found the right spot.
Since he was reinstated from a stint on the disabled list for anxiety issues, Votto has gone 11 for 32.
Reds manager Dusty Baker held a team meeting in before the game, assembling all 25 players in his spacious office. Baker doesn't hold many team meetings, but sensed that his club -- which has been stuck around .500 -- needed encouragement.
"You just feel it," Baker said. "Sometimes you've got to use your office to do more than just chastise."
Cueto gave a reassuring performance that got Cincinnati back to break-even at 38-38.
The 23-year-old righty made an attention-grabbing debut against the Diamondbacks last season, allowing only one hit -- Justin Upton's solo homer -- during seven innings of a 3-2 win.
He was in deep trouble early Wednesday, walking four of the first eight batters in part because of a stiff back. He grabbed his lower back after one pitch, bringing Baker and a trainer from the dugout.
"Very concerned," Baker said. "When we went out to talk to him, even the umpire said he wasn't himself, and umpires know pitchers as well as anybody. You could tell his velocity wasn't there, but then I looked up and it was 93, 94 mph, so I guess it cleared up."
Trainers worked on his back between innings and got it to loosen up. He stretched in the dugout between innings and got through the problem, allowing only Lopez's infield single. He retired the last 12 batters he faced.
"Sometimes, pitchers go through stretches in games where they don't have their best stuff," Votto said. "He didn't have his good stuff early, but he got locked in."
The Diamondbacks plan to activate RHP Yusmeiro Petit off the DL to start Saturday against Colorado. Petit has been out since May 9 with a sore right shoulder. In five rehab starts, Petit is 0-1 with a 6.89 ERA. "He hasn't pitched as well as we would have liked," Hinch said. "He is healthy." ... The Reds called up INF Drew Sutton from Triple-A Louisville and optioned reliever Jared Burton, adding depth to their injury-depleted infield.