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SEA@CIN: Latos on settling down after rocky start

Nobody in Major League Baseball has won at home at a better clip than the Braves, who are 29-13 (.690) at Turner Field this season. That spells trouble for a Reds team that continues to struggle on the road as the two clubs prepare for a four-game set in Atlanta.

Cincinnati enters the series opener on Thursday after losing two of three to the last-place Brewers in Milwaukee. The Reds haven't won a road series since taking three of four from the Cubs on June 10-13, going just 3-8 in the last 11 away from Great American Ball Park.

Having dropped two of three to the Mariners at home before embarking on a seven-game road trip to close out the first half, Cincinnati has been scuffling in general as of late. Including a three-game sweep over the Giants, the Reds are just 1-5 in their last six series.

Injuries have not helped the Reds' cause, as both of the team's catchers -- Ryan Hanigan (sore left wrist) and Devin Mesoraco (back spasms) -- have been hurting, and Chris Heisey, who recently returned from a two-month absence with a hamstring injury, was sidelined Wednesday after being hit above his left elbow by a 95-mph fastball the day before.

Fellow outfielder Ryan Ludwick has been on the disabled list since April 3, relievers Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton are in the midst of lengthy DL stints, and ace Johnny Cueto is currently out of action for the third time this season, as injuries simply have been a part of the Reds' season.

"You don't get well overnight," manager Dusty Baker said. "In baseball, if you're banged up today, there's a good chance you're going to be banged up tomorrow. There's a good chance you'll be banged up next week. That's baseball. You don't get the down time to get well. You have two choices -- you can go on the DL or kind of figure out how to play through it."

Starter Mat Latos will look to reverse the Reds' fortunes on Thursday, as he squares off against Braves righty Tim Hudson.

Latos has been as effective on the road as at home this season, if not more so. In 10 road starts, Latos has compiled a 2.91 ERA with a 3-1 record, which is partly a reflection of the lack of support the 25-year-old right-hander has received from the offense and the bullpen in 2013.

Meanwhile, Hudson hasn't lost a decision at home this year, going 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA in eight starts. His most recent appearance came in Philadelphia, where he held the Phillies to one run and scattered five hits across seven innings on Saturday for his fifth win of the season.

Before that start, Hudson was winless in 10 appearances since beating the Mets on May 5. Part of it was Hudson, but part of it was the fact he received the lowest average run support (1.56 runs per game) of any Major League pitcher in June.

"There have been times when I've [struggled] during those [10] games and I didn't deserve a win," Hudson said. "And there were some times when I just came across some tough luck."

Reds: Marshall enjoys successful bullpen session
After Sean Marshall continued to inch his way towards a comeback when he threw a 42-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday, the left-handed reliever reported back on Wednesday to say everything went smoothly.

"It went great," Marshall said. "I used all of my pitches -- backdoor sliders, curveballs -- mixing pitches like it would be in a game. I'm not sore today."

Marshall hit the disabled list for the second time this season on May 24 with a sprained left shoulder. After originally trying to pitch through the pain, Marshall, who has been throwing off a mound for almost two weeks, opted to shut his arm down and take things slowly this time around.

There are no plans yet for Marshall to go out on rehab assignment, but he is expected to throw another bullpen session on either Thursday or Friday in Atlanta.

• The Reds didn't need much out of their bullpen on Wednesday against the Brewers, as Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth after Mike Leake went eight innings.

However, Chapman's ninth inning extended the Cincinnati bullpen's scoreless streak to 25 innings and matched the franchise record of nine straight games without a run off a reliever. Four Reds relievers are riding scoreless streaks of seven innings or more, including J.J. Hoover (11 1/3 innings) and Manny Parra (12 innings).

Braves: B.J. Upton showing signs of turning corner
After registering just his 13th multihit game of the season on Tuesday, B.J. Upton went 1-for-4 on Wednesday, bumping his Major League worst batting average up one point to .179.

It was the first time Upton collected at least one hit in back-to-back games since June 21-22, and the Braves are hoping it's a sign of things to come.

"That was the best I've seen him," Braves hitting coach Greg Walker said of Upton's performance Tuesday. "He was aggressive, he was in attack mode and he stayed inside the ball. That has been his battle. His timing has been messed up, and he's been kind of late all year. There were a couple pitches he was late on last night, but he made the adjustment as the at-bat went on, and he got there on time."

• Although all the talk has been about the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman led all NL candidates for a third consecutive day in the All-Star Game Final Vote ballot on Wednesday. Freeman, who is seeking his first All-Star appearance, said he was humbled by the support.

"I didn't know people knew about me," he said. "I just go out there and try to win baseball games. Just to have people jump on my side and start voting for me is just incredible."

Worth noting
• Thursday marks the beginning of the second and final series between the Reds and Braves this season. Atlanta won two of three in Cincinnati in early May.

• Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo opens the series on an eight-game hitting streak.

• With a 2-for-4 performance on Wednesday, Braves third baseman Chris Johnson extended his hit streak to 11 games. Comments