(SportsNetwork.com) - Alfredo Simon tries to become the majors' first 13-game winner when he leads the Cincinnati Reds into the middle test of a three-game series against the New York Yankees in the Bronx.
Simon is 12-3 with a 2.70 earned run average and has won his last six decisions (8 starts), including a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on July 9. Simon struck out eight and limited the Cubs to a run and four hits over 6 2/3 innings of work.
The Reds have won each of the right-hander's last eight trips to the mound and he is 7-1 in 10 road starts this season. Simon has an 0-2 record with a 5.68 ERA in six career games (3 starts) against the Yankees.
Cincinnati opened this set against the Yankees with Friday's 4-3 loss, as starting pitcher Mike Leake served up all four runs and eight hits across seven innings of work. Leake allowed Jacoby Ellsbury's two-run homer in the fifth inning.
"It was still a decent outing," said Leake. "Any time you go seven, you did something right."
Brayan Pena hit two home runs to power the Reds, who are 2 1/2 games off the lead in the NL Central and have alternated wins and losses over the past six games. The Reds entered the night having won seven of nine games.
The Reds have lost four in a row on the road and will also visit the Milwaukee Brewers on this road trip.
New York ended a five-game home losing streak with last night's victory. Ellsbury's blast in the fifth inning proved to be the difference and made a winner out of David Phelps, who was reached for three runs -- two earned -- in 6 1/3 innings.
Dellin Betances pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before David Robertson closed the door in the ninth for his 24th save.
Ellsbury, Derek Jeter and Carlos Beltran had two hits apiece in the win. Beltran returned to the lineup after being on the seven-day concussion disabled list, while Jeter made an MLB-record 2,610th career start at shortstop. Jeter broke a tie he shared with Omar Vizquel for the most starts at shortstop in major league history.
"I thought we swung the bats pretty well tonight off of a guy we don't have a lot of history off of," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "Got some real timely hits."
The Yankees pulled within four games of Baltimore for the AL East lead and opened a 10-game homestand on a high note.
Brandon McCarthy will make his second start in a Yankees uniform Saturday and did not record a decision in a 5-4 win at Cleveland on July 9, when he gave up four runs -- one earned -- in 6 2/3 innings. Acquired in a trade from Arizona, McCarthy was 3-10 in 18 starts with the Diamondbacks.
McCarthy, a right-hander, is winless (0-2) in three career games, two of which have been starts, with a 14.73 ERA against the Reds.
Cincinnati won two of three at Yankee Stadium when these teams last faced each other in 2012. The Yankees are 6-7 all-time versus Cincinnati in interleague play, the only MLB team they own a losing record against.