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Cincinnati Reds (67-51) at Arizona Diamondbacks (47-72), 6:40 P.M. AZT

Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Bronson Arroyo (12-7, 3.94) Arizona - Dan Hudson (3-0, 1.59)

(Sports Network) - The Arizona Diamondbacks certainly aren't going anywhere this season, but the performances of young players such as Dan Hudson have at least given the team some hope for the future.

The rookie pitcher will attempt to remain unbeaten in an Arizona uniform when he takes the mound for tonight's opener of a three-game series with the National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds from Chase Field.

Acquired from the Chicago White Sox as part of a trade that sent veteran hurler Edwin Jackson to the Pale Hose on July 30, Hudson has quickly emerged as the Diamondbacks' best starter. The right-hander has won all three of his starts with his new club and produced a stellar 1.59 earned run average during that span, having allowed a mere four runs in 22 2/3 innings.

Hudson was sharp once again in an 8-2 victory at Milwaukee on Wednesday, limiting the Brewers to two runs and striking out a career-best nine batters in seven innings. That effort followed a 7 2/3-inning stint in his Chase Field debut in which he yielded just one run and three hits over 7 2/3 frames to defeat playoff-hopeful San Diego on August 6.

The 23-year-old, who has held opposing hitters to a minimal .165 average over his three outings as a Diamondback, is a combined 4-1 with a 3.52 ERA in six starts with Arizona and Chicago and faces the Reds for the first time tonight.

Hudson should be challenged by a Cincinnati squad that leads the NL in runs scored (576) and batting average (.271) and comes in off three straight home wins over Florida this past weekend. The sweep moved the Reds back in front in the NL Central race, one game ahead of defending division champ St. Louis.

Strong pitching led the way for Cincinnati in Sunday's finale with the Marlins, however, with Homer Bailey teaming up with three relievers on a seven-hit shutout in a 2-0 Reds' triumph.

Making his first major league start since May 23, Bailey (2-2) surrendered only three singles and struck out four over the first six innings, retiring the final 10 batters he faced. The one-time top prospect had spent the past two-plus months rehabbing from a shoulder problem that landed him on the disabled list in late May.

Miguel Cairo gave Bailey all the support he would need by hitting a tie- breaking two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth, with relievers Logan Ondrusek, Nick Masset and Francisco Cordero making the lead stand with a scoreless inning each.

"[Bailey] threw the ball great. Masset threw the ball well, and [Cordero] was throwing some fire," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of his team's pitchers.

Cincinnati will try to keep rolling when it starts up a nine-game West Coast trip with tonight's tilt. The Reds, who will also take on the Dodgers and San Francisco on the swing, are a impressive 31-25 as the visitor this season and have won four straight and seven of their last eight away from home.

The Reds have also fared well in recent stops in Phoenix, having won their last five games at Chase Field and sweeping a three-game set there last season. Cincinnati has prevailed in 13 of its last 16 overall matchups with Arizona as well.

Cincinnati will send out its top winner tonight in search of continuing that string of success. Bronson Arroyo is in the midst of another solid season, with the reliable veteran having amassed a 12-7 record with a 3.94 ERA in 24 starts and eating plenty of innings along with way.

Arroyo wasn't at his best last time out, however, with the right-hander reached for four runs in five innings of a loss to the rival Cardinals on Wednesday. In two starts that preceded that defeat, he permitted two unearned runs over 14 innings in consecutive wins over Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs.

The 33-year-old owns a 7-3 mark with a 3.53 ERA in 12 starts on the road this year, but is just 1-3 with a 5.23 ERA over eight lifetime appearances (six starts) against the Diamondbacks.

Arizona returns home tonight after going 4-3 on a seven-game trek through Milwaukee and Washington, but did drop two of three tests to the Nationals and were 5-3 losers in Sunday's series finale. The Diamondbacks failed to hold onto an early 3-0 lead in that one, with reliever Jordan Norberto (0-2) stuck with the defeat after giving up a run on two hits in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Adam LaRoche homered off Washington phenom Stephen Strasburg during a three- run second inning and finished 3-for-4 to pace Arizona offensively. Starting pitcher Barry Enright allowed three runs over the first five frames, with two of them coming on Josh Willingham's homer in the bottom of the fourth that tied the game at 3-3.

"I just kind of lobbed it up there," Enright said of the pitch to Willingham. "It was just a sloppy kind of spinning slider. When I threw it up there, I said, 'Oh, please come back'."