MLB: Reds take on Cardinals in search of 5th straight win

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The Cincinnati Reds will look to extend their season-high win streak to five games when they host the St. Louis Cardinals in the middle game of their three-game series Tuesday night.

The Reds won the first game 3-1 on Monday thanks to the starting pitching of Nick Lodolo, who was returning from a groin injury, and a perfect 3 2/3 innings from the Cincinnati bullpen.

Fernando Cruz led the way, striking out all five batters he faced. In total, Cincinnati relievers fanned nine of their 11 batters.

Lucas Sims came on in the ninth to earn his first save of the season, as closer Alexis Diaz was unavailable after pitching in back-to-back games and three of the previous four.

“I believe in all the other seven guys that are down there,” Sims said. “Honestly, I believe that anybody can get it done. That’s why they’re here. Everyone’s here to help us win ballgames. However we’ve got to do it, try to keep this thing rolling.”

Cruz has played a pivotal role in the Reds’ bullpen, relieving Lodolo on Monday with a runner on first and one out in the sixth. Cruz fanned Ivan Herrera and Nolan Arenado before striking out the side in the seventh.

The Cardinals are hoping Arenado can rediscover his offensive punch. Arenado went hitless in four at-bats Monday with a strikeout, dropping his average to .258.

Arenado belted at least 30 home runs and drove in 100 runs for seven straight full seasons from 2015-22.

“It’s bad. The swing is not good. My swing is not good,” Arenado said. “I’ve been working on it and trying to figure this thing out, but my swing is not good.

“I’m a guy that pulls the ball in the air, and I haven’t done that all year. I don’t know what the answers are. I’ve got to continue to try to find it. I can see the difference of when I was good and when I’m not, but trying to apply it in games right now is really hard for me.”

While Arenado is not hitting well, two Cardinals have extended hitting streaks. Rookie Masyn Winn singled to center Monday in the third inning, running his streak to 16 games. Alec Burleson singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games.

The Reds send lefty Andrew Abbott (3-4, 2.68 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday. Abbott is coming off his best outing of the season, blanking San Diego over seven innings on May 21. He allowed just four hits and a walk. Abbott has gone seven innings in each of his past two starts, allowing just eight hits and one run over the 14 innings.

Abbott is 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA in two starts against St. Louis.

The Cardinals counter with veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson (3-2, 3.81), who will make his 11th start this season. Gibson allowed three unearned runs on five hits over four innings on Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles, as the Cardinals rallied for a 5-4 win. Gibson is 1-0 with a 7.59 ERA in two career starts against the Reds.

–Field Level Media

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