The Cincinnati Reds can maintain a hold of first place in the National League Central Division tonight when they meet the visiting Cleveland Indians in the middle game of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds won Tuesday's opener, 7-1, to regain a one-game edge in the Central after Pittsburgh, which shared the lead entering Tuesday's games, dropped an 8-6 verdict in the first game of a series at Baltimore.
The Indians, meanwhile, are down 1 1/2 games in the American League Central, trailing the Chicago White Sox after Tuesday's loss. Chicago stretched its advantage with a 6-1 win at St. Louis.
Tuesday's win for the Reds was their second straight against the Indians after a six-game losing streak that stretched from June 27, 2010 through July 2, 2011.
Cincinnati won the finale of last season's six-game series, 7-5, then made it two in a row when Johnny Cueto tossed his second complete game of 2012.
Cueto (7-3) threw 81 of his season-high 122 pitches for strikes and allowed just a run on six hits. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Joey Votto went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and an RBI single, Wilson Valdez added three hits and an RBI and Jay Bruce contributed an RBI for the Reds, who bounced back nicely after losing two of three to Detroit over the weekend.
Jason Kipnis knocked in the only run of the night for the Indians, losers in two of their last three games.
Jeanmar Gomez (4-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs -- one earned -- on six hits and four walks over five innings.
The Indians lead the overall interleague series, 39-37, with wins in six series compared to Cincinnati's four series wins.
Four of the team's six-game matchups -- in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2007 -- ended up even at three games apiece.
The Reds will send right-hander Mat Latos to the mound Wednesday for his first career meeting with Cleveland.
The 24-year-old Virginia native was acquired from San Diego in the offseason and dropped his initial two decisions over three starts, but has since gone 4-0 in nine outings while trimming his earned run average from 8.22 to 4.85.
He's allowed three earned runs or less in six of the nine starts in the streak and lasted at least six innings six times as well.
In his last outing, on June 8, Latos allowed three earned runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings of the Reds' 6-5 interleague defeat of Detroit.
For the Indians, 39-year-old Derek Lowe faces the Reds for the ninth time in his 647th major-league appearance.
The product of Dearborn, MI is 4-3 against the Tribe in his initial eight tries with a 4.26 ERA and a .226 opposing batting average in 44 1/3 innings.
Lowe's last win came June 1 against Minnesota when he allowed a run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 7-1 victory.
In one start since, he allowed seven runs on nine hits in just five innings of a 7-5 loss at Detroit.
Lowe is 3-3 in six road starts in 2012.
Cleveland won five of six meetings with Cincinnati last year.
The Sports Network