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May 9, 2024 1:12 am

Diamondbacks face Reds in search of 1st series sweep of season

arizona diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks will attempt to finish their first series sweep of the season Thursday when they conclude their three-game set with the host Cincinnati Reds Thursday afternoon.

The Diamondbacks won their season-high third straight game Wednesday when they held off the Reds 4-3.

The third straight win didn’t come without some late-game drama as Kevin Ginkel attempted to close out his sixth save in eight chances. After three of the first four Reds reached in the inning, trimming Arizona’s lead to one, Ginkel was pulled by Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo.

Joe Mantiply bailed out Ginkel and the Diamondbacks by striking out Will Benson and getting Jonathan India to fly out to right. Ginkel and Mantiply filled in for Paul Sewald, who returned Tuesday from a strained oblique. Sewald finished Tuesday’s 6-2 win but didn’t record a save.

“He’ll continue to pitch on the back end of the games,” Lovullo said of Ginkel. “I know he wants to close. I know he did a good job of closing. He’ll get the toughest part of the lineup in the seventh or eighth inning and hand it off to Paul.”

The Reds, meanwhile, are reeling. Their loss Wednesday was their seventh straight, their longest skid since June 2022. The Reds on Thursday will attempt to avoid their longest losing streak since dropping nine in a row during a stretch in April and May in 2022.

The Cincinnati offense continues to struggle. During the current seven-game skid, the Reds have scored just 13 runs.

“Our guys are doing great. Of course, there’s frustration. We’re really close (to breaking out),” Reds manager David Bell said after Cincinnati’s latest loss. “It may not seem like that, but I know from being in our clubhouse and our dugout and being around our guys every day, all day long, (that) we’re super close. We just have to keep going.

“Our players continue to do what they need to do. And you know it’s difficult when you’re not getting results, you get a bit consumed with results. And that’s natural, but it’s never a great idea. So, we just have to trust what we’re doing, and we’ll break through.”

The Diamondbacks will start right-hander Slade Cecconi (1-2, 4.96 ERA) in the series finale. He will be making his fourth start of the season. Cecconi took the loss in his last start last Friday at home against the San Diego Padres, allowing six runs on five hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings.

In his only previous start against Cincinnati, Cecconi took a no-decision, allowing just one run on three hits in 5 2/3 innings in Arizona’s 5-2 win on Aug. 27, 2023.

The Reds counter with right-hander Hunter Greene (1-2, 3.12), who will be making his eighth start this season and third career against Arizona.

Greene is riding a career-best 14 2/3-inning scoreless streak, allowing just 13 hits over his last three starts. Greene hasn’t allowed a run since a J.T. Realmuto RBI double in the fifth inning of a 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on April 22.

Greene is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in two previous career starts against Arizona. He allowed five hits and five runs over 3 2/3 innings last Aug. 25 in the Diamondbacks’ 10-8 win.

–Field Level Media

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