Cincinnati Reds (35-35) at Pittsburgh Pirates (34-37), 12:35 p.m. (ET)

 

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cincinnati Reds will try for a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon at PNC Park.

The Reds have won three in a row, six of seven and eight of their last 11 games, including Wednesday's 11-4 blowout of the Buccos behind Alfredo Simon's solid start on the mound. Simon became the NL's first 10-game winner, as he allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings.

"I feel good, I feel brand new," Simon said. "I know I can control 200 innings, it's not going to be a big deal for me. I got a great arm and it's not going to be a big deal for me."

J.J. Hoover gave up one run in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

Billy Hamilton had three hits and three RBI, Skip Schumaker went 2-for-4 with three RBI and Zack Cozart ended with two hits, an RBI and two runs scored for the Reds.

The Reds will host the Toronto Blue Jays for three games this weekend.

Homer Bailey gets the start for Cincy Thursday afternoon and is 4-0 with a 3.51 earned run average in his last five starts. He did not figure into the decision of a 6-5 win at Milwaukee last Friday and allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings of work. It was the most runs given up by Bailey since he allowed six on May 17 at Philadelphia.

Bailey has won six of his last seven decisions and is 7-3 overall in 14 starts with a 4.68 ERA. The right-hander is 2-2 in seven road starts and 8-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 17 career starts against the rival Pirates.

Pittsburgh has lost three in a row since winning four straight and five of six games. Pirates touted prospect Gregory Polanco had two hits, an RBI and a run scored, and has hit safely in his first eight major league games.

Polanco is the first Pittsburgh rookie to hit safely in each of his first eight games and had been tied at seven with Roberto Clemente (1955) and Zip Collins (1914).

"I'm still not thinking about that," said Polanco, who has four multi-hit efforts during his streak.

Jose Tabata drove in two runs and starting pitcher Edinson Volquez was roughed up in just 2 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs and six hits.

After hosting the rival Reds, Pittsburgh will visit the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays next.

Jeff Locke will make his fourth start of the season Thursday for the Buccos and is 0-1 with a 3.98 ERA. He allowed six runs in his 2014 debut, an 11-10 loss to San Francisco on May 5, then suffered a tough-luck loss June 8 versus Milwaukee. He allowed the only run in seven innings of a 1-0 defeat.

Locke toed the rubber in last Friday's 8-6 win at Miami and did not figure into the decision, as he struck out seven and issued no walks across a career- high eight innings of two-run ball. He has fanned at least five batters in every start.

In five career starts against the Reds, Locke has a 2-1 mark and a 3.04 ERA.

Pittsburgh has lost seven of its nine matchups with the Reds this season.

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