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CIN@SD: Arroyo punches out eight in three-hit shutout

After a travel day Thursday, the Reds and Rockies meet for a three-game weekend series, at opposite ends of the postseason spectrum.

The Reds, winners of seven in a row, sit in first place in the National League Central. The Rockies, who have won two series since taking two of three from the Dodgers June 1-3, are 17 1/2 games behind in the NL West.

Right-handed pitcher Bronson Arroyo will start for Cincinnati on Friday. Arroyo (5-6, 3.98 ERA) allowed two earned runs over six innings in his last start. In Arroyo's past 10 outings, he has held opponents to three runs or fewer six times.

The Reds' starting staff ranks fifth in the NL with a 3.64 ERA.

"I feel like I'm the weakest link in the rotation right now," said Arroyo, who has made 19 starts this season. "Everybody is looking really, really strong all the time. That being said, I feel like I've thrown pretty good about 16 times. It just means that we've got a pretty good rotation, and hopefully it continues."

Drew Pomeranz, who experienced left arm soreness during his start last Friday night, was skipped during his normal turn in the rotation on Tuesday, but he has been throwing without pain and will return to face Arroyo and the Reds.

"We just want to get him back out there pitching. That's how he is going to learn," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We wanted to make sure that physically nothing is wrong and get him back out there. On Friday, it will have been a week."

Reds: Stubbs improving
Center fielder Drew Stubbs hit a go-ahead, two-run homer on Tuesday night, then cranked two doubles Wednesday. Stubbs has started in the No. 2 hole, where he hit Wednesday, in 53 games.

"He's still learning, more than anything, about how to be consistent," manager Dusty Baker said. "His upside is still great."

Stubbs has seven hits, five RBIs and two stolen bases the last three games.

Rockies: CarGo gets two-day breather
Tracy gave All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez the night off Wednesday. With the Rockies off on Thursday, Gonzalez will have had a full two days to recharge his batteries.

"If you look at the last couple of nights offensively, I see a guy that is beginning to tire," Tracy said. "There's sluggishness to his swing. I believe five strikeouts in the first two ballgames of this series. We have a day off tomorrow. He'll get a couple days off and he's ready to go Friday against Cincinnati."

Gonzalez has a .289 batting average (13-for-51) with two doubles, a triple and three home runs since the All-Star break. He's 4-for-17 with seven strikeouts in his last five games.

Worth noting
• The Reds lead the season series against the Rockies, 2-1.

• Homer Bailey shut out the Astros in seven innings Sunday, striking out seven and walking five. It was the first time in his career he's walked four or more batters and yielded zero runs.

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