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CIN@PIT: Latos fans six, holds Bucs to three runs

When looking at the Reds' current four-game win streak, it's easy to pinpoint why they have been so successful.

The team's starting pitchers have allowed just three runs in their last 28 innings pitched.

Right-hander Mat Latos will look to keep that streak going against the Marlins on Friday in Cincinnati.

Latos is still looking for his first win of the season after taking a no-decision in his first three outings. On Sunday against the Pirates, he allowed three runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings before the bullpen surrendered seven runs in a 10-7 loss.

"I was cruising along for six innings and get to the seventh, and I just ran into a little trouble," Latos said after the game. "It seemed like it opened the door for a pile on of hits after that."

Meanwhile, Kevin Slowey will be on the hill for the Marlins, ready to get his first win since September 2010 in his first career appearance against the Reds.

Slowey took the no-decision in his previous start against the Phillies, allowing one run on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 2-1 loss.

Slowey is the only pitcher in the Majors with at least three starts this season to not have received a run of support.

"Tremendous pitching performance again by Slowey," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond after the game. "Slowey, this might be the best I've ever seen him pitch. He's locating his fastball. His tempo is great. He's pounding the strike zone. Man, he needs a win. We've got to get this guy a win."

Marlins: Stanton back in lineup
All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who missed six games with a bruised left shoulder, returned to the Marlins' lineup on Thursday against the Reds.

"It's feeling all right -- good enough to be in there," Stanton said before taking the field to stretch. "It's not 100 percent, but it's ready to go."

Stanton tweaked the shoulder while making a diving catch of a ball off the bat of the Mets' Kirk Nieuwenhuis on April 5. Stanton said he felt fine after he made the catch, but he felt some discomfort once the team got back to Miami a few days later.

He finished Thursday's game going 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts and made two errors in right field.

Reds: Freeman heads back to Louisville
To make room for starting pitcher Tony Cingrani, the Reds optioned reliever Justin Freeman to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday.

Freeman was called up on Monday for the first time in his career when ace Johnny Cueto went on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle.

During the Reds' 11-2 win over the Phillies on Wednesday, Freeman made his Major League debut and gave up two runs in the eighth inning.

"I'm glad we got him into the game last night. I hate to have a kid come up here and go right back without pitching," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He learned something. He thought with the score at 11-0 that the guy was just going to take one. He learned the hard way. It was a good lesson for him."

Worth noting
• The Reds are 8-2 at Great American Ball Park this season, the best home record in the Majors.

• In eight career starts and appearances against the NL Central, Slowey owns a record of 5-1 with a 3.40 ERA. He won five consecutive decisions with a 1.98 ERA from June 13, 2008 to June 19, 2009. Comments