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CIN@SD: Latos allows just one run over seven innings

Mat Latos and Yovani Gallardo will square off on Sunday at Great American Ball Park with the series up for grabs.

With the series between National League Central opponents tied at one game apiece after the Reds dropped Saturday's game, 1-0, Latos will get the ball for Cincinnati in the finale.

Latos' first start of the season came against the Brewers on June 14 after he missed the first 2 1/2 months recovering from right elbow and left knee surgeries, as well as a right forearm strain. Latos was good in that first start, tossing six shutout innings and allowing only two hits.

The right-hander has been stellar in three road starts, but in his only home start so far in 2014, he was roughed up by the Blue Jays for five runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. Latos has been good throughout his career at Great American Ball Park, however, currently owning the second-lowest career ERA there among active pitchers (3.05).

The Brewers will counter with Gallardo, who had been on a terrific run -- three earned runs in 27 innings over his previous four starts -- before a dud against the Rockies in his last start on Sunday.

"Coming out watching him throw, I know when he's off, and you look at the great curveball he's had for quite a while now, he didn't have it today," manager Ron Roenicke said after that start.

But Gallardo wasn't too concerned with one pitch not working in one bad start.

"I wish I knew where it went," Gallardo said, "[but] it's one game. You never want to lose a game to begin with, but you have to stay positive and get ready for the next one."

The Reds, who are in fourth place in the NL Central despite being on a 21-12 run, are 6-3 against the division-leading Brewers this season.

Reds: Schumaker proving to be key acquisition
Reds outfielder Skip Schumaker's overall offensive numbers won't blow anyone's doors off, but what he's done between the margins of statistics this season has the club thrilled with his winter acquisition.

Schumaker, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI on Friday, entered Saturday batting .256 with a .287 on-base percentage. But his addition to a left-field platoon with Ryan Ludwick has seemed to help the lineup. Schumaker, who missed the season's first month with a dislocated left shoulder, came in batting .371 (13-for-35) over his previous 12 games.

"He's kind of a great, accomplished situational baseball player," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He knows how to work a starter's pitch count. He knows how to take advantage of good pitches to hit early in the count, when they're there. He's moved runners for us. I've used him to squeeze. He's not only been a solid defender, but a guy that can play some late-game defense for us. [He's a] very instinctive baserunner."

In November, Schumaker was signed to a two-year, $5 million contract that came with a $2.5 million club option for 2016.

The Reds are 20-11 in the 31 games Schumaker has started this year.

Brewers: Braun exits game early with back spasms
Right fielder Ryan Braun, who has already missed a number of games this season with thumb and rib cage injuries, exited Saturday's game against the Reds with lower back spasms.

Braun struck out swinging in the first inning and played the bottom of the frame on defense, but Logan Schafer stepped into the lineup in Braun's spot in the top of the second. Schafer was stranded on deck, but took over on defense in the bottom of the inning.

"Back tightness, felt it today in [batting practice] and thought he was able to get through the game," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Obviously, he couldn't do it."

Braun will be re-evaluated on Sunday before the Brewers and Reds play the rubber match of their three-game series.

Worth noting
• With the 2014 All-Star rosters to be revealed on Sunday, the Reds, although none of their players lead at their positions in the voting, have several potential candidates: catcher Devin Mesoraco, second baseman Brandon Phillips, third baseman Todd Frazier, and pitchers Johnny Cueto, Alfredo Simon and Aroldis Chapman.

• Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez and outfielder Carlos Gomez are both on pace to start the All-Star Game as of the final ballot update, and Milwaukee has a slew of other candidates, including: catcher Jonathan Lucroy, first baseman Mark Reynolds, second baseman Rickie Weeks, shortstop Jean Segura and outfielder Ryan Braun.

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