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Pittsburgh Pirates (47-93) at Cincinnati Reds (80-61) Preview


7:10 PM ET, September 11, 2010 Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio

Edinson Volquez is getting another chance to find a place in the Cincinnati Reds’ rotation.

Recalled from the minors, Volquez looks to help the NL Central-leading Reds to a second straight victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night at Great American Ballpark.

Volquez (3-2, 6.17 ERA) returns to the majors after spending time at Class-A Dayton to work on his mechanics. The right-hander has been erratic since he returned in July after missing a year because of reconstructive elbow surgery. He is now taking the place of the struggling Aaron Harang, who has been moved to the bullpen.

Volquez, who allowed 10 runs and walked six in 5 1/3 innings while going 0-1 in his last two major league starts, posted a 1.38 ERA in two outings at Dayton.

“Nobody wants to go down,” Volquez told the Reds’ official website. “I knew I had to pitch somewhere to find my rhythm. Sometimes you have to go back to go forward. It didn’t bother me.”

Volquez is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts against the Pirates, but has not faced them since 2008.

He’ll try to help the Reds (80-61) win consecutive games for the first time this month after they snapped a five-game skid with a 4-3, 12-inning win over Pittsburgh on Friday.

“It’s been a while since we celebrated,” manager Dusty Baker said after his team extended its lead over St. Louis in the Central to six games. “It feels like a month.”

Francisco Cordero blew a two-run lead in the ninth, but the Reds won three innings later on a bases-loaded grounder off the bat of Jonny Gomes. Scott Rolen and Paul Janish had two hits and an RBI each as the Reds, who had just finished a 1-6 road trip, won their fifth straight home game .

The Reds, who have won 19 of their last 25 meetings with the Pirates (47-93), need two more victories to clinch their first winning season since 2000.

Rolen is 7 for 17 with five RBIs in his last four games at Great American Ballpark. He is 4 for 10 with a homer off scheduled Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton (1-11, 9.66).

The right-hander, 0-6 with a 9.00 ERA since beating the Cubs on May 5, allowed six runs — two earned — over 3 2/3 innings of an 8-1 loss to Washington on Sunday — his second start since coming off the disabled list with shoulder fatigue.

“He’s not where we’d like to get him,” manager John Russell told the Pirates’ official website.

Morton is 1-4 with a 6.84 lifetime ERA against the Reds, including 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA this season.

The Pirates have lost 11 of their last 13 games at Cincinnati, including three in a row. They are a major league-worst 14-54 on the road, where they have dropped 16 of their last 17 overall.

Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker is batting .366 with 16 RBIs during a career-high 16-game hitting streak — the longest by a Pirates rookie since 1971, when Rennie Stennett hit in 18 straight.

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