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Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 7:10 PM ET
 

Pirates-Reds Preview

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Mat Latos has gone 21 consecutive starts without losing.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have never beaten him.

The right-hander looks to keep both streaks going as the Cincinnati Reds host the Pirates on Tuesday night.

Latos (6-0, 3.08 ERA) has not lost since Aug. 24, 2012, but he's looking to bounce back from one of his worst starts of the season. Though he left after six innings with a one-run lead, Latos allowed four runs and eight hits in a 6-5, 14-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

"It was just one of those days," said Latos, who has won his last four home starts.

A short-handed bullpen will look to do a better job of supporting Latos on Tuesday. Sean Marshall has been out since May 24 with a sprained shoulder, and Jonathan Broxton joined him on the disabled list Saturday with an elbow problem. Even so, Cincinnati's relievers have pitched 9 1-3 innings of scoreless relief since blowing Latos' chance to win and have a 0.90 ERA in the last seven games.

Latos also hopes to ride a recent power surge, as the Reds (43-28) delivered their second four-homer performance in a week in Monday's 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh. Jay Bruce homered for the third time in four games and is batting .342 since May 30. Zack Cozart hit his second home run in seven games, a stretch during which he's hitting .355.

Latos has the added comfort facing an opponent to which he's never lost, having gone 4-0 in eight starts versus the Pirates with 53 strikeouts in 51 innings. His 2.29 ERA against them is his second-lowest against any team he's faced multiple times.

Cincinnati has gone 10-4 in Latos' starts this season, but two of those losses came in Pittsburgh. He allowed a combined five runs - four earned - and struck out 13 in 12 2-3 innings.

Among the Pirates (41-29) to have struggled against Latos are Garrett Jones (3 for 21) and Starling Marte (1 for 8).

While Latos has just two losses in his last 44 starts, Pittsburgh scheduled starter Charlie Morton (0-1, 3.60) has lost four straight and six of seven going back to May 2012. The right-hander made his season debut Tuesday in his return from Tommy John surgery, surrendering four runs - two earned - and seven hits in five innings of a 10-0 loss to San Francisco.

"There's room for improvement but for being out a year, first time out on a major league mound, there's some things we can definitely work with," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Morton was undone by wildness (three hit batters) as well as bad luck (three infield hits) against the Giants.

"I didn't look to this start to validate that I'm back,'" Morton said. "It's part of the process, a long process."

Morton went 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA in two matchups with the Reds last season after going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA against them in 2011.

Tagged: Reds, Pirates, Charlie Morton, Mat Latos

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