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MIL@SEA: Lohse fans seven over seven strong frames

There's no rest for the Reds. But who says they want one?

Cincinnati, playing through a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, kicks off a four-game set Thursday against the Brewers, a team they've beaten in six of the last eight series played. The Reds, fresh off a series sweep against the Cubs, won't have another day off until Aug. 29.

The Brewers have gone 27-31 at home this season, and the Reds are just 30-32 on the road. Shin-Soo Choo got a day off for the Reds on Wednesday, but he's ignited the lineup out of the leadoff slot. Choo, acquired in an offseason trade with Cleveland, has reached base in 103 of his 114 games this season.

And if the Reds are going to stay in the hunt for the postseason, they're probably going to have to do it with the cast of characters on hand. Manager Dusty Baker addressed the possibility of a waiver trade before Wednesday's 5-0 win and said he doesn't expect Cincinnati to do anything huge.

"This is my sixth year here. We haven't done much in the middle of the season," Baker said of the Reds adding talent in August. "We've done minor moves. If they're major moves, they were done in the offseason, like [Mat] Latos and Choo. As much as I'd like to, I'm not expecting anything."

Thursday's opener brings an intriguing pitching matchup. The Reds will send Tony Cingrani to the mound and Milwaukee will counter with veteran Kyle Lohse, who has a 4-3 record and 3.26 ERA in 13 career starts against Cincinnati.

Lohse has won three straight decisions, and the Brewers are 8-2 in his past 10 starts. Over his last 14 starts, Lohse is 7-1 with a 2.49 ERA and 11 quality starts. Cingrani, a third-round Draft pick in 2011, has a 2.87 ERA with 102 strikeouts and only 37 walks in 87 2/3 innings.

The Brewers are returning home from a taxing nine-game, 10-day road trip to the West Coast and Texas, and now they'll have a chance to settle back in at home. Manager Ron Roenicke thought his team played well on its road trip, ending with a 5-4 record.

"I think we've played good baseball," Roenicke said. "We've had a couple of games where we've been sloppy, but overall we've played nice baseball. For me, that's what's important. Your talent level sometimes is going to be better one year than another, but it's playing good baseball for what you have, and I think we're playing good baseball."

Milwaukee will play host to St. Louis once Cincinnati leaves town. The Brewers have gone just 17-27 against National League Central opponents this season.

Reds: Homer-heavy Reds try to limit strikeouts
The Reds entered play Wednesday fifth in the NL in home runs (114) and fourth in on-base percentage (.325), but they have more strikeouts (996) than any other NL team. Baker said Wednesday that his starting lineup probably won't change much unless the team is able to make a move or two.

"We've got four guys who have 100 strikeouts," Baker said. "If you haven't made contact by Aug. 14, there's a good chance you're not going to make contact. Does that bother me? Yeah. You address it, but you have what you have."

Brewers: Francisco tries to keep hot bat against former club
• Juan Francisco, a former Red, has given the Brewers an offensive lift this season. Francisco, who was traded to Atlanta last April and then to Milwaukee this June, hit two home runs Wednesday and has 12 homers in his first 56 games with Milwaukee. The 26-year-old has a career-high 17 home runs this season.

Francisco, originally signed by Cincinnati in 2004, made his way through the Minors and was dealt to Atlanta last April in exchange for reliever J.J. Hoover. Francisco played in 128 games for the Braves over two seasons before Milwaukee acquired him for Minor League reliever Thomas Keeling.

• Aramis Ramirez was in the lineup for the second straight day Wednesday at designated hitter after missing more than a month with a knee injury. He went 0-for-3, but did score a run.

Worth noting
• The Reds were a season-high seven games out of first place last Thursday, but they trailed first-place Pittsburgh by just three and a half games after Wednesday's action.

• Hoover is working on the longest active scoreless streak (21 appearances, 24 1/3 innings) among big league relievers.

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