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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, August 2nd (All times eastern)

San Diego Padres (44-62) at Cincinnati Reds (63-41), 12:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: San Diego - Ross Ohlendorf (3-1, 5.05) Cincinnati - Johnny Cueto (13-5, 2.39)

(Sports Network) - Dominican right-hander Johnny Cueto can win his fifth straight start and add to an already personal-best victory total for the season today, when the streaking Cincinnati Reds host the San Diego Padres in the finale of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

A 26-year-old who debuted for the Reds in 2008, Cueto had a career-best 12 wins in helping Cincinnati to a National League Central Division title in 2010, then won nine of 14 decisions across 24 starts last season.

He was an NL All-Star after compiling a 10-5 record before the break this season and has won three more starts since the intermission, allowing six runs on 22 hits on 19 innings while defeating Arizona, Milwaukee and Colorado.

Cueto allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings of his last meeting with San Diego en route to a 4-2 win that improved him to 1-2 in four career starts against the Padres.

He is 7-1 in nine home starts in 2012.

The Reds maintained a three-game lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central on Wednesday, when Ryan Ludwick homered and drove in four in a 6-4 victory.

Ludwick belted a two-run homer in the first inning, knocked in the go-ahead run in the fifth and added insurance with an RBI single in the seventh.

"We have to have somebody hot in the middle and that's what Ryan Ludwick is giving us now. He's driving in key runs, hitting home runs and running the bases," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Zack Cozart also hit a first-inning homer - a leadoff shot - for the Reds, who have taken two of three to start this four-game series and are a major league- best 16-3 since the All-Star break.

Bronson Arroyo (7-6) won his third straight start, allowing four runs on seven hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out one.

Jonathan Broxton, who was acquired from the Royals on Tuesday, tossed a 1-2-3 eighth in his Cincinnati debut and Aroldis Chapman worked around a two-out double in the ninth to lock down his 23rd save of the season.

San Diego counters Cueto tonight with Texas-born righty Ross Ohlendorf, who'd won three straight decisions before a loss in his last outing.

The native of Austin, who'll turn 30 on Wednesday, allowed three runs on four hits in six innings of a 4-2 defeat in Miami on July 28, dropping him to 3-1 on a season that began with him in the Boston Red Sox organization.

The Red Sox granted him free agency on June 2 and he was signed by the Padres two days later.

He tossed an inning of relief and allowed a run on two hits against the Reds on July 6 and is 1-3 against them in seven career meetings.

Cincinnati took three of four from the Padres right before the All-Star break and are 5-2 in seven games this season. The Reds won four of six games between the teams in 2011, while San Diego won four of six in 2010.

08/02 10:22:52 ET