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CIN@LAD: Cueto strikes out seven over seven innings

The West Coast sure has been kind to Reds starters on their current 11-game road trip. Through 10 games in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, every pitcher has tossed two quality starts.

On Sunday against the Padres at Petco Park, Cincinnati will try to make it 11 straight, a feat that hasn't happened for the team since 1990.

Even with such stellar pitching, the Reds offense hasn't performed at the same level. The team has gone only 5-5 during the 10-game stretch.

"I've been talking the last couple of years about getting to this point. If you have any streaks or good fortune, you want to go twice through the rotation," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I just wish our timing could have been better for our offense ... like our pitching and defense. The time when our offense was clicking, our pitching wasn't.

"We're looking for that period of time when both of them are clicking. It starts with pitching. It gives you an excellent chance to win when your pitching is good. When it's not, you don't have a very good chance to win -- no matter how many runs you score."

The Reds will have the right man on the mound in Johhny Cueto, who's tossed seven straight quality starts.

Cueto will look to use his final start of the first half to secure his 10th victory. It'll be his third attempt after back-to-back losses, his last coming Tuesday against the Dodgers. The right-hander tossed seven innings in the outing, allowing three runs on seven hits.

The Padres will send Jason Marquis to the hill on three days' rest, choosing him over right-hander Ross Ohlendorf.

No stranger to pitching on short rest, Marquis is 1-2 with a 3.93 ERA in six career starts on three days' rest.

The right-hander's last outing came on Wednesday against the D-backs, in which he surrendered four runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings for a no-decision.

"He cinched his belt and gave us five much-needed zeros," manager Bud Black said after his last start. "He got the ball down and his slider improved. He has it in him. He has that mentality. There is no quit in him."

Reds: Latos to start first game after All-Star break
• Coming out of the All-Star break, Cincinnati will have Mat Latos start on Friday against the Cardinals.

The order following Latos will be Mike Leake, Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey.

"We debated having Cueto start the first game but everybody else would have had a couple of extra days off and that would have been on his regular turn," Baker said.

Padres: Stults tosses simulated game
• Eric Stults threw 48 pitches in a simulated game against teammates Everth Cabrera, Micah Owings and Jesus Guzman on Saturday.

"It went well. I feel good, no problems. I'll have to talk to Buddy and them some more, but I think the next step is a live game," Stults said afterward. "I felt good, no problems."

Black said that the plan is for Stults to make at least two rehabilitation appearances with Triple-A Tucson starting Thursday.

"I think he was a little rusty, which is not unexpected," Black said. "But his lat felt good. Now it's a matter of him regaining his form and building his arm strength. I think today was a good day for him."

Worth noting
• Padres third-base coach Glenn Hoffman celebrated his 54th birthday on Saturday.

• Through 84 games, the Reds have used only five starting pitchers, which according to Elias Sports Bureau is the Reds' longest such streak to begin a season since the five members of the 1898 staff established the franchise record by making every start through the first 147 games.

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