What looked to be a favorable stretch for the Cincinnati Reds has been anything but easy.
The Reds will try to avoid a sixth straight loss Friday when they continue their series against the Chicago Cubs.
After taking two of three last weekend from Pittsburgh - its nearest competitor in the NL Central - to open a 4 12-game lead, Cincinnati was swept at Milwaukee before dropping a 5-3 decision in Chicago on Thursday after Alfonso Soriano's tie-breaking, two-run homer in the eighth.
The Reds (66-46) had won 22 of 25 before their current skid. Despite Thursday's loss, they still lead the Pirates by 2 12 games.
"I don't think these games should really make a difference," pitcher Mike Leake said. "You're going to have losing streaks. If we're dwelling on this, there's a problem.
"We didn't go 22-3 or whatever it was for no reason."
Cincinnati has scored 11 runs and batted .180 in its five losses. Jay Bruce is hitting .136 with no homers and 11 strikeouts in his last seven games, and manag...