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Reds' Latos shuts down D-backs in series finale

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BOB BAUM | June 23, 2013 09:47 PM EST | AP

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks tried to mount another ninth-inning rally against Cincinnati, and it almost worked.

Instead, the Reds escaped after another shaky appearance by hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, earning a 4-2 victory Sunday that snapped the Diamondbacks' four-game winning streak.

"We hung in there, got a couple of runs and had some pressure on them in the ninth inning," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Guys played hard, we just got beat by a pretty good pitcher today."

He was speaking of Mat Latos (7-1), who struck out 13 in 7 2-3 innings.

"Not too many guys score against this guy," Gibson said. "Look what he has done over the last 20 starts. We hung in there. We gave ourselves a chance to win. We hung in there enough to get him out of the game. You are not going to win them all."

The NL West-leading Diamondbacks went 4-2 on a six-game homestand.

Latos allowed six hits and walked one.

"He kept the ball down," Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt said. "They made some good plays and when he got ahead he made great putout pitches, slider mostly. He used his fastball as well. He did a good job and we weren't able to get anything going."

Latos went 21 starts without a loss before Pittsburgh beat him on Tuesday. The right-hander didn't strike out anyone in the first two innings Sunday, then fanned 13 over the next 5 2-3.

"When he's good, he's real good," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Shin-Soo Choo hit a leadoff home run and Brandon Phillips added a two-run shot in the first inning off Randall Delgado (0-1) as the Reds averted a three-game sweep.

After blowing a save in Cincinnati's 4-3 loss on Saturday, Chapman pitched out of trouble in the ninth to get his 19th save.

The left-hander got the first two batters to bounce out to shortstop before Cliff Pennington singled and went to second on defensive indifference. Pinch-hitter Wil Nieves singled in Pennington to cut it to 4-2.

A wild pitch moved Nieves to second, then Chapman hit Gerardo Parra in the right forearm with a 100 mph fastball.

Pitching coach Bryan Price went to the mound to settle down Chapman, and he got Willie Bloomquist to pop out to center to end the game.

Latos fanned six in a row in the third and fourth – Delgado, Parra, Bloomquist, Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero and Jason Kubel – all swinging. Of Latos' season-high 110 pitches, 79 were strikes.

"Can't complain with that," Latos said.

The big strikeout number was a mixed blessing, he said.

"You start striking out a lot of players, you start throwing a lot of pitches," Latos said. "Maybe it would have been great to go all nine and not strike out 13, but I'll take it. It was a good win."

The Reds jumped on Delgado from the start.

Choo hit an 0-2 pitch into the swimming pool area in right field, his fourth leadoff homer of the season and ninth of his career. Zack Cozart followed with a double, then after Joey Votto struck out looking, Phillips' homer to left made it 3-0.

"It was two bad pitches," Delgado said. "Then I tried to keep calm and keep the team as close as possible."

Cincinnati added an unearned run in the second. Xavier Paul led off with a double, then Pennington bobbled Devin Mesoraco's grounder down the third base line for an error. Latos sacrificed the runners to second and third, and after Choo walked to load the bases, Cozart brought Paul home with a sacrifice fly to the wall in left-center.

Delgado went five innings, allowing four runs – three earned – and six hits.

The right-hander, who came to Arizona from Atlanta as part of the Justin Upton trade, made his second start since being called up from Triple-A Reno to bolster a rotation depleted by the 10-game suspension of Ian Kennedy and a shoulder injury to Brandon McCarthy.

The Diamondbacks broke through in the eighth when Parra doubled with one out, then advanced to third on Bloomquist's groundout. Goldschmidt drew a two-out walk and Montero singled Parra home to make it 4-1, maintaining Arizona's status as the only team in the majors not to be shut out this season.

Left-hander Manny Parra relieved Latos and got Kubel to ground out to end the inning.

NOTES: After the game, Gibson said 2B Aaron Hill, on the DL since April 14 with a broken left hand, would be activated Tuesday. LHP Joe Paterson was optioned to Triple-A Reno to make room. ... Arizona starters do not have a win in their last 16 games. ... Latos struck out at least 10 for the second time this season and seventh in his career. ... Arizona has Monday off, then opens a three-game series at Washington on Tuesday. Trevor Cahill (3-8, 3.92) pitches for the Diamondbacks against Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.34). ... Pennington started at 3B for the first time since 2008.