(Sports Network) - With 16 games left and an eight-game lead in the National League Central Division, only a complete disaster can prevent the Cincinnati Reds from capturing their first postseason berth since 1995.
The Reds will try to move closer to that goal and record a series victory this afternoon versus the Arizona Diamondbacks in the finale of a four-game series from Great American Ball Park. They have won two of the first three portions of this set and are coming off Wednesday's 7-5 victory in which Drew Stubbs highlighted a four-run first inning with a two-run homer.
Jonny Gomes had an RBI triple and finished with a pair of RBI and two runs scored for Cincinnati, which is eight games ahead of St. Louis in the standings. The Cardinals lost to Chicago last night. Orlando Cabrera had a big night at the plate with three doubles and three runs scored, while Jay Bruce robbed Adam LaRoche of a possible home run in right field to end the game.
"It was an amazing play," Francisco Cordero said on the team's site. "I'm sure they're going to show that play over and over and over. Whoever watches ESPN and MLB Network, they'll show that quite a few times."
Cordero posted his 36th save after giving up a run and two hits in the ninth. Homer Bailey was pounded in the no-decision, as he allowed three runs and four hits in three innings.
The Reds will begin a nine-game road swing through Houston, Milwaukee and San Diego following today's game, and will send Edinson Volquez to the mound for today's finale versus Arizona. Volquez will make his 10th start of the season and took the mound for the first time since August 23 his previous time out on Saturday in a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh.
Volquez pitched seven shutout innings of one-hit ball and struck out 10 batters to remain at 3-2 in nine starts. He lowered his earned run average from 6.17 to 5.14 in the process. The right-hander is 0-0 with a 5.91 ERA in two career starts against Arizona.
The Diamondbacks will try to earn a split of this series Thursday and have lost five of their last six games. In last night's loss, Kelly Johnson homered and Miguel Montero knocked in two runs for Arizona, which saw Joe Saunders fall to 2-6 on the mound.
Saunders was touched for seven runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
"He pitched a great game," D'Backs interim manager Kirk Gibson told the team's website. "He gave up seven runs, but it really wasn't reflective. I mean he was really in control. We could have made some plays. We didn't do that, but regardless, he kept pitching, he dealt with that nicely."
Gibson will have to deal with the fact that struggling right-hander Rodrigo Lopez is set to take the mound Thursday. Lopez is 0-7 with a 6.53 ERA in his last 11 starts, with Arizona going 1-10 in that stretch. He fell to 5-14 overall this season in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Colorado and allowed both runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Lopez, a right-hander, will make his 30th start of the season today and is 1-0 with a 6.10 earned run average in five career starts against the Reds.
Cincinnati has won five of six meetings with Arizona this season.