Cincinnati Reds (60-61) at Colorado Rockies (47-74), 8:40 p.m. (ET)

08/15/2014 10:43 AM

08/15/2014 10:53 AM

(SportsNetwork.com) - Johnny Cueto tries to become the first 15-game winner in the majors Friday, when he leads the Cincinnati Reds into the second contest of a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

Cueto is 14-6 with a 2.05 earned run average, which is fourth in the major leagues and second in the National League. He has won four straight and is unbeaten in his last six decisions. In Sunday's 7-2 win over the Miami Marlins, Cueto struck out nine batters and allowed two runs in eight innings of work.

The right-hander, who is 9-1 in the past 10 decisions, has lasted seven innings or more in the last four starts and has struck out at least six batters in six straight games. Cueto is 5-3 in 12 road starts and 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA in six career starts against the Rockies.

Cincinnati has lost three in a row and five of the last six games, and dropped Thursday's series opener, 7-3. Alfredo Simon continued his struggles on the mound and was touched for seven runs -- five earned -- and 10 hits in five innings.

"(Simon) made some mistakes and they hit him hard," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He pitched ahead better today, but they were very comfortable at the plate."

Ryan Ludwick went 3-for-4 with a home run and Zack Cozart recorded two hits and an RBI for the Reds, who are four games off the lead in the wild card and will also visit the St. Louis Cardinals on this trip.

Colorado posted a rare win on Thursday behind Jorge De La Rosa's seven innings of three-run ball and five strikeouts. He issued only one walk and pushed his record to 12-8.

Charlie Culberson hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning, while Charlie Blackmon, Drew Stubbs, Corey Dickerson and Wilin Rosario each had an RBI for the Rockies, who snapped a three-game skid and won for the fourth time in the last 18 contests.

"When your starter gets through seven, things tend to fall into place," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Charlie has been grinding all year. That was a big home run by him tonight."

The Rockies will also host Kansas City and Miami on this homestand and hope Franklin Morales can keep the club on the winning path when he takes the mound Friday. Morales is 5-6 with a 4.97 earned run average and is 0-2 in his past five trips to the mound. He did not figure into the decision of a 5-3 win at Arizona on Sunday and allowed three runs -- two earned -- in six innings.

Morales, a left-hander, has faced the Reds five times in relief and is 2-0 with no ERA across 4 2/3 innings of work.

The Reds won two of three games at home versus Colorado in early May.

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