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CIN@MIL: Latos throws six scoreless innings in return

Mat Latos is set to make his second start of the season on Friday against the Blue Jays after missing more than the first two months of the season with a series of injuries.

Latos' debut against the Brewers last Saturday went well. He threw six scoreless innings, walked none and struck out four in Cincinnati's 4-2 loss.

Latos, who posted a 3.32 ERA in his first two seasons with the Reds, could provide a huge spark for Cincinnati, which has survived the first 2 1/2 months of the season, but has also done nothing to distinguish itself in the crowded National League Central.

The righty is not the only Reds player back in the lineup, as Joey Votto's return last week has helped spark Cincinnati's recent run.

Votto returned to action on June 10 after missing 23 games with a strained left quad. Cincinnati was five games under .500 at that point. The team's 4-3 loss to the Pirates on Thursday dropped them a game under .500.

"Now that we're whole, we're doing the things we thought we could do coming out of Spring Training," Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. "That's what feels good. ... It feels good to be [near .500]. But when the season is over, we still have to be in first place, whatever our record is."

Right-hander Liam Hendriks will be recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to start in place of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who left his last outing in Baltimore with a groin injury. Dickey's next start will be in Sunday's finale.

Hendriks is 6-0 with a 1.92 ERA in 10 starts with the Bisons. This will be his second stint with the Blue Jays this season. The 25-year-old Perth, Australia native is 1-0 in two starts with Toronto.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said the call up was made to protect the rotation and provide some extra rest.

"He'll be here for one start and he'll go back and it will give those guys an extra breather," said Gibbons.

Reds: Hamilton's streak snapped
Billy Hamilton saw his four-game multi-hit streak come to an end on Thursday, as Cincinnati's leadoff hitter finished 1-for-5 with a double. The Reds center fielder, who pushed his hitting streak to six games, had gone 11-for-19 with three doubles and two home runs in his last four games.

Hamilton's improvements at the plate have helped lead to the team's recent surge.

His on-base percentage (.315) has exceeded .300 for only the second time this season, and his slugging percentage (.402) is fantastic for a leadoff hitter, who is known more for his speed than his power.

Blue Jays: Delabar recalled
Steve Delabar's stint in the Minor Leagues was so brief that it came to an end before it even really started.

Delabar was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, but he returned to the big league club two days later when left-hander Brett Cecil was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin.

The Blue Jays right-hander didn't even have time to report to the Bisons before he hopped back on a plane to join his teammates for their series finale in New York.

The decision to go with Delabar means that Aaron Loup is the only left-hander available out of the bullpen. The club could have instead gone with someone like Rob Rasmussen, who made a brief stint earlier in the year, but decided to go with the experience.

The lack of lefties becomes a little less problematic because Delabar has fared better against those hitters this season. Left-handed batters are hitting .118 with a .420 OPS against Delabar compared to a .264 average and .903 OPS by righties.

Worth noting
• Cincinnati's bullpen entered its 4-3 series-finale loss to the Pirates on Thursday with a 5.65 ERA in its previous five games. But the Reds bullpen kept the team in the game as starter Homer Bailey exited after 5 2/3 innings. Cincinnati held Pittsburgh scoreless over the next six innings, but finally relinquished a run in the bottom of the 12th.

• Adam Lind was held out of the Blue Jays' starting lineup on Thursday night, but he did get into the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. It marked the first time that Lind appeared in a game since he fouled a ball off his right foot Saturday in Baltimore. The veteran designated hitter is expected to be available as a pinch-hitter this weekend. Edwin Encarnacion will continue to receive all of the starts at first base.

• As of Thursday, the Blue Jays had held sole possession of first place in the American League East for 28 consecutive days. The last time they were in first for that long was in 1993.

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