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CHC@CIN: Leake K's seven over seven strong innings

After losing nine of the first 10 games out of the All-Star break, including a 15-inning heartbreaker on Monday night, the Reds find themselves looking up at three teams in the National League Central.

The time to recover, if postseason play is in their future, won't be long.

"I think it's a matter of time, but it's getting late," Reds outfielder Skip Schumaker said. "We need to start rolling and I don't think we're far off. It's just one big hit here or there, and we'll get rolling."

Despite the downturn to start the season's second half, the Reds sit only six games back of the division-leading Brewers. To begin a trend of winning, the Reds will rely on Mike Leake on Tuesday against the D-backs.

Leake, who will be searching for his 50th career victory, posted a 2.16 ERA in six starts during May, but has watched his numbers climb since. In his last 10 starts spanning June and July, Leake has posted a 4.71 ERA and surrendered four or more runs in six of the 10 starts.

The D-backs will oppose Leake with Trevor Cahill, who is currently working through struggles of his own. The right-hander left pitches up in his last start against Detroit, lasting four innings while allowing seven runs (three earned).

"For the most part I felt pretty good," Cahill said after the start. "I just left some pitches up and a team like that is going to hurt you."

That is the current theme for the Reds, who believe the product on the field is better than the results have offered of late.

"We have to play better as a team," Reds outfielder Jay Bruce said. "I wouldn't say 'have-to,' but this is a time where we really do need to turn it around and start winning some games and play how we expect to play. We put higher expectations on ourselves than anyone on the outside can. So we know we've been underachieving and we're doing everything we can to turn it around."

D-backs: Hill out of lineup, but hand improving
Aaron Hill was out of the lineup for the second straight game on Monday, but the D-backs' second baseman said his bruised right hand was feeling better and he anticipated being available to pinch-hit if needed.

Hill was hit by a pitch on the right hand on Saturday night and left the game an inning later when he was unable to grip a bat.

"Good enough," Hill said, when asked how the hand feels when he swings. "It's better than it was yesterday, so that was good, but they felt one more day would be better. If they need me to do something tonight, if I need to hit tonight, I'll hit tonight."

X-rays taken of the hand Saturday night were negative.

Reds: Frazier singing different tune at plate
Todd Frazier changed things up a bit during the Reds' weekend series against the Nationals, in which Cincinnati dropped two of three games. But the tweak wasn't to his batting stance; it was to his walkup music.

"My brother had a good one," Frazier said Sunday of one of the songs that was under final consideration to replace Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon." He proceeded to give the reporters around his locker a rendition. "It was by P. Diddy, 'Bad Boys for Life.'"

Frazier decided to stick with a Sinatra classic: "The Best is Yet to Come," a choice that would seem to indicate the hope that a new song would be the forerunner to a reversal in the Reds' fortunes.

Worth noting
• Bruce batted second in the starting lineup on Monday vs. Arizona. It was his first time hitting second since batting there six times in 2011. The right fielder went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and two walks there Monday.

• Arizona manager Kirk Gibson needs one win to tie Bob Melvin (337) for the most victories in club history.

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