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Dickey fans 10 in complete-game victory

On Tuesday, the Reds kicked off a stretch of 17 games in 16 days with a walk-off homer from Jay Bruce. With the postseason in their sights, the Reds aren't grinding through the dog days of summer. They're cherishing them.

"It's not as doggish if you're winning," manager Dusty Baker said. "They're really dog days if you're losing. Everybody out there is a little spent on both sides. I just hope my guys are a little stronger and in better shape than the opposition."

The Reds continue their hunt for the postseason on Wednesday in the second game of a series with the Mets at Great American Ball Park. Until Aug. 30, the Reds play every day. They also have a doubleheader against the Cubs on Saturday.

"Everybody goes through it," shortstop Zack Cozart said. "Every team is playing a lot, and it's crunch time now."

Right-hander Mike Leake takes the mound for the Reds. He hasn't pitched great in his last four starts, posting a 5.82 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. In his last three starts, he's given up four home runs.

Against the Mets on May 16, Leake went six innings and allowed one run on seven hits. He has a 1.96 ERA against the Mets in three career outings.

The Mets, who started a stretch of 13 games in 13 days on Tuesday, counter with right-hander R.A. Dickey, who is going for his Major League-leading 16th victory. The knuckleballer has a 1.17 ERA in his past three starts. In his last start, on Thursday, Dickey tossed a complete game against the Marlins, allowing one run on five hits and striking out 10.

New York is 9-21 since the All-Star break.

Mets: Catcher Shoppach joins the team
Veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach, acquired from the Red Sox on Tuesday for a player to be named, will probably platoon with Josh Thole and start against left-handers for the Mets, manager Terry Collins said.

Shoppach hit .250 with five homers in 48 games for the Red Sox. His career OPS against left-handers is .894. Against right-handers, it's .656.

"I think that's probably one of the reasons why we got him," Collins said, referring to "the damage he can do against left-handers."

Thole is batting .277 in 188 at-bats against right-handers and .219 in 64 at-bats against lefties. He has just one homer on the season.

"I think when he first got here, everybody thought he was going to hit, and hit a lot," Collins said. "But he puts the bat on the ball. We knew he would. You wish he'd hit for a little more power, because he can. He's got some."

Reds: Votto won't come back until he's fully ready
The Reds will have to wait just a bit longer for All-Star first baseman Joey Votto after the slugger tweaked his injured left knee sliding last week.

"I felt like I was close. I was probably pushing it trying to get out there," Votto said. "I was probably being a little overzealous."

Votto doesn't regret trying to hustle back from the disabled list, where he's been since July 16.

"I am where I am in my career because of my attitude in general," Votto said. "I don't think I would be the player I am if I didn't ask more of myself. Stuff like this happens."

The Reds are now 20-8 without Votto in the lineup.

Worth noting
• Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, out since Aug. 7 with a sore back, could return on Wednesday. He is 5-for-9 with a homer and four RBIs against Dickey.

• Mets third baseman David Wright is one homer shy of 200 for his career. Comments