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CIN@COL: Arroyo hurls 6 2/3 scoreless for sixth win

Any way you look at it, the Reds are putting a hot streak on the line Monday when they start a seven-game road trip with a three-game set against the Brewers at Miller Park.

Despite a loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday, first-place Cincinnati has won five of six, 14 of 16 and 22 of 26 to hold a 4 1/2-game lead over the Pirates in the National League Central. The Reds are 7-2 against the Brewers this season, including three straight victories, and have won nine consecutive road games.

The defending division champion, Milwaukee sits 17 1/2 games behind Cincinnati after Sunday night's loss to St. Louis.

Bronson Arroyo will draw the assignment of continuing the Reds' run, as he takes the ball against fellow right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Arroyo is 7-6 with a 3.87 ERA this season and 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA in three outings against the Brewers, striking out 19 and walking four in 20 1/3 innings.

Arroyo survived without his best stuff to pick up a win on Wednesday against the Padres. He struck out only one but limited San Diego to four runs in six innings.

"It was a battle out there, for sure," Arroyo said. "I didn't have a whole lot."

The Brewers, meanwhile, return home for three games after three in St. Louis. Milwaukee is 30-26 at home this season and exited Sunday with nine straight road losses. The Brewers are 18-33 on the road.

"I didn't feel like we played well anywhere, so the fact that we're [above] .500 at home surprises me," outfielder Ryan Braun said. "I don't think there's anything specific that I can point my finger at home. I know last year, we were really good at home. I think sometimes when you play at home, just the atmosphere and the environment that the fans create, especially for us at Miller Park, is certainly an advantage.

"But I think all of us that have been around the league long enough, it's disappointing that we can't go on the road and play the same way we do at home. I think every Major League team probably feels more comfortable at home. You sleep in your own bed. You have a consistent routine."

Reds: Broxton adds to already solid bullpen
• Manager Dusty Baker quoted a Hall of Fame catcher on Saturday to explain Cincinnati's recent acquisition of veteran reliever Jonathan Broxton.

"If you don't have a good bullpen, like Yogi Berra said, you don't got nothing," Baker said. "Those are your best friends."

Broxton joins a bullpen that started Sunday leading the Majors with 22 wins and a 2.53 ERA, and leading the NL with a .213 opponents' batting average. Closer Aroldis Chapman has a 1.34 ERA, and Jose Arredondo, Sean Marshall, Logan Ondrusek and Alfredo Simon all are at 3.05 or better.

"Everybody wants that. There's not a team in baseball that doesn't want that," Baker said. "Most of my best teams have had strength in the back end of the bullpen. It kind of reminds you of the days when the Yankees had Goose Gossage and Ron Davis and they had John Wetteland and Mariano Rivera. It's pretty nice to have, especially to go along with the stuff we already have."

Broxton has pitched in three games for the Reds since they got him from the Royals on July 31, and the burly right-hander has not surrendered a run.

"As a bullpen, you never can have too many arms," Broxton said. "It helps out the starters. The starters only have to worry about going six, maybe seven innings, and we just keep running out there and doing our job. It really makes the game shorter."

Brewers: Core of lineup staying strong
• Milwaukee has dropped 12 of its 16 games since July 20, but not because the heart of its batting order has struggled.

During that span, the quintet of Braun, Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart, Aramis Ramirez and Rickie Weeks has excelled, and the team has averaged more than five runs per game, but has scored two or fewer six times.

• Gallardo (9-8, 3.92 ERA) gave up seven earned runs to the Nationals on July 26, but bounced back against the Astros on Tuesday, holding them to three hits in seven innings and striking out five. Houston's only run came on a solo homer by Chris Snyder.

"I felt pretty good today," Gallardo said after that start. "I think I was able to command and throw my pitches except for that one fastball that I left to Snyder in a hitter's count, and he was able to put a good swing on it."

Gallardo has faced the Reds three times this season, going 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA.

• Ramirez sat out Friday and Saturday after receiving a cortisone injection in his sore left wrist on Thursday. He returned to the lineup Sunday and went 1-for-4.

Worth noting
• Current Brewers have hit .207 in 280 total at-bats against Arroyo. Ramirez has hit .190 (12-for-63), while Weeks is at .146 (6-for-41).

• Reds outfielder Jay Bruce has posted a .462 average (12-for-28) against Gallardo, with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs. Current Reds have reached him for a combined OPS of .955 in 188 plate appearances. Comments