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MIL@CIN: Cueto K's nine, allows one run in 12th win

Johnny Cueto had a start to forget the last time he pitched against the Rockies on May 25, allowing a season-high five runs and a career-high 11 hits.

The Reds starter may be thinking about redemption. Cueto hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since, going 7-3 with a 1.95 ERA in that span.

He's been in a groove his last three starts, going 3-0 and lowering his ERA to 2.23. on Saturday, he'll be pitching for a Reds team that's also in a zone.

Colorado pitcher Christian Friedrich will again take on Cueto. Friedrich earned the win against Cueto on May 25 after allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings.

Cueto will lead a Cincinnati team that's won eight straight games and is 12-2 since the All-Star break, going 9-2 without slugger Joey Votto.

"I think we've gotten a little bit better lately as a team, which is kind of crazy considering our highest-paid player has been out of the lineup," said left fielder Ryan Ludwick. "I think that's the sign of a good team."

Though the Rockies have lost seven of their past nine games, they are 26-11 against the Reds since the beginning of 2007 and own a 14-3 edge at Coors Field.

Reds: Masset begins rehab assignment
• Right-handed reliever Nick Masset, who's been on the disabled list all season with a right shoulder injury, began a rehab assignment Friday with the Arizona League club in Goodyear. He could also throw an inning Monday for the Arizona League Reds.

"It's been good," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said Friday afternoon. "He's done everything we've asked him to do -- bullpens, live batting practice, and has come through them well."

• The Reds are 4-0 to start a six-game road trip. They went 8-5-3 in their previous 16 road series.

Rockies: Helton activated from DL
• Todd Helton, who missed 12 games with hip inflammation, was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Friday, while pitcher Edwar Cabrera was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. With Helton still sore, manager Jim Tracy will try to give him days to rest.

"If he's physically capable of taking on the workload, then the program will be similar," Tracy said. "If he can play today and tomorrow that'd be great, then we'd back off Sunday for the day game."

• Chris Nelson is back with the club after being hospitalized July 16 with an irregular heartbeat. He said caffeine, dehydration and stress contributed to the accelerated heartbeat.

Worth noting
• The Rockies spent their Thursday afternoon with victims of the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

According to a report in the Denver Post, Tracy and 12 members of the Rockies went to University of Colorado Hospital, visiting five patients, including four in critical condition.

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