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MIA@SD: Nolasco fans nine over seven strong frames

The Reds are a season-best six games over .500, and they've reached that mark playing against teams in the National League Central in three of their last four series.

Now they'll head east, starting with a series against the Marlins, to test their mettle against some teams outside of their division. The Reds have lost four of their five road series this year, going 6-10 overall in games away from home.

Cincy took three of four in the first meeting of these two teams this year, April 18-21 in Cincinnati.

Both teams have the day off Monday before Cincinnati's Homer Bailey and Miami's Ricky Nolasco tangle in the series opener on Tuesday at Marlins Park. Despite both having ERAs under 3.90, the two have combined for just three wins.

Bailey is 0-3 with a 4.46 ERA since tossing six shutout innings and earning the win in his first start of the year. He gave up four runs in five innings Tuesday against the Braves, throwing 41 pitches in a laborious first inning.

"Homer settled down big time," manager Dusty Baker said. "He had a bunch of pitches in the first inning. We didn't want him to go two or three innings, because then my bullpen would have been wrecked. He did his job. I have to commend him. I told him after the game going five innings was gutsy and heads-up. He kept us in the game and put us in position to win."

In Nolasco's latest outing, he struck out nine in seven innings and allowed just one run against the Padres, still taking the tough-luck loss.

It was Nolasco's highest strikeout total since he had 11 on May 6, 2011 against the Nationals.

"We haven't swung the bats great for these starters to give them the wins they deserve, but at the same time, too, those guys are smart enough to know that things tend to even themselves out," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "If they go out there and pitch their innings, and pound the strike zone, those things take care of themselves. Ricky has been able to do that. He knows what he's got to do, and he knows what is at stake for him, and he's doing it."

Reds: Bruce bruising
Jay Bruce has hit safely in his last five games, going 7-for-21 with three doubles, two home runs and five RBIs. He's recorded a hit in 10 of his last 11 games.

• Reds pitchers have struck out at least 10 hitters in a single game 14 times this season, but just once on the road.

Marlins: Mathis expected back
The Marlins are expected to reinstate catcher Jeff Mathis from the disabled list prior to Tuesday's opener. Mathis, acquired in the offseason's massive trade with the Blue Jays, has been out all season because of a broken right collarbone.

• Leadoff man Juan Pierre began the season with just three steals (in four attempts) over his first 18 games. But in the 15 games since then, he has gone 9-for-10 in stolen-base attempts.

Worth noting
• Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are tied for 17th on the Reds' all-time home run list, each with 137. Brandon Phillips is 15th with 148.

• The Marlins have won five of their last eight home games against the Reds.

• Marlins right fielder Marcell Ozuna has had assists in two straight games. Ozuna has three assists on the season, as does Chris Coghlan.

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