(Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Reds were perhaps just a few inches away from extending their lead atop the National League Central. Instead, they will try to avoid an eighth loss in 11 games this evening when they play the third contest of a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds did next to nothing versus Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson on Tuesday as he threw eight shutout innings of four-hit ball with eight strikeouts. Hudson even added an RBI hit at the plate before watching his bullpen load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
With Arizona up by three, Arizona's Juan Gutierrez hit Drew Stubbs with a pitch to force in a run and Ramon Hernandez then ripped a pitch to deep right, but Justin Upton was able to track it down for a game-saving catch and a 3-1 Diamondbacks victory.
"Once it came off the bat, I had a beat on it," Upton said. "Actually, it kind of went up in the lights a little bit. I was a little hesitant whether I would catch it or not. It came out once I got behind the lights, and I was able to snare it."
Arizona snapped a four-game slide overall and won for just the second time in its last 10 games. The club also halted a six-game slide to the Reds while picking up only its fourth victory in the last 21 games of this series.
"He hit the ball right on the button," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of the last out. "That was like the Hall of Fame play right there."
Travis Wood took the loss after allowing three runs over five innings, but Cincinnati remained seven games up on second-place St. Louis in the NL Central. The Reds' magic number to clinch their first division title since 1995 stands at 12.
Homer Bailey will try to lower that number tonight with his first win in five starts.
The right-hander hasn't won since Aug. 20 and had allowed 13 runs over his previous three starts before holding the Pirates to just one run on five hits over seven innings on Friday. Bailey also struck out a career-high nine in the no-decision.
Bailey is 3-3 with a 4.70 earned run average in 15 starts this year and the 24-year-old hasn't faced Arizona since July 7, 2007. In his only other meeting with the club, he got a no-decision after five innings of one-run, two-hit ball.
Arizona counters with Joe Saunders, who picked up his fifth loss in his last six decisions on Friday in Colorado. The 28-year-old southpaw allowed seven runs -- four earned -- on five hits and four walks over a season-low 2 1/3 innings, falling to 2-5 with a 4.88 ERA in nine games with the Diamondbacks since coming over in a trade with the Angels.
Saunders is 8-15 with a 4.70 ERA in 29 total starts this year and faced the Reds for the first time in his career on Aug. 19. He picked up a loss on that day, yielding four runs on eight hits over six innings.