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MIA@CIN: Arroyo strikes out six over eight strong

The Reds will have a managerial milestone in their sights when they open a three-game series against the Braves on Monday night at Great American Ball Park.

Cincinnati's next victory will be the 1,600th of skipper Dusty Baker's career, moving him past Tommy Lasorda for 18th place on the all-time list. Baker, who played for Lasorda with the Dodgers, stands at 1,599-1,446 for his career, making him second on the active wins list behind the Tigers' Jim Leyland.

The Reds come into their six-game homestand with a 12-4 record at Great American Ball Park and have yet to lose a home series. On Sunday, they finished off a three-game sweep of the Cubs to close out their road trip at 5-5.

"We've got a tough homestand," Baker said. "We're facing the Braves, who are one of the better teams in this league. After the Braves, we face the Brewers back in our division. We've got work to do."

The Braves beat the Mets on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak but still have dropped 10 of their past 15. On the other hand, they are set to get a big boost as they begin a 10-game road trip.

Catcher Brian McCann will fly with the team to Cincinnati and will be activated from the disabled list to make his season debut. The six-time All-Star, who is in the final year of his contract, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder this offseason.

"It's going to be nice to get all the pieces back," left fielder Justin Upton said. "We know we have an All-Star catcher coming back. I used to love to watch him play and swing the bat even when I was playing against him. So it's going to be fun to play beside him."

McCann proved his readiness during a seven-game Minor League rehab assignment, which he split between Class A Rome and Triple-A Gwinnett. The 29-year-old went 8-for-23 (.348) with four home runs and nine RBIs, including 0-for-1 with a walk in his final appearance with Gwinnett on Sunday. He also said he is comfortable with his arm behind the plate.

McCann is coming off a down year, in which he played through injury. He hit .230 with 20 home runs, 67 RBIs and a career-low .698 OPS in 121 games.

In his absence, the Braves have gotten strong production from the tandem of rookie Evan Gattis and veteran Gerald Laird. The two have combined to hit .287 with eight doubles, six home runs and 21 RBIs at catcher.

Braves: Maholm coming off tough-luck loss
Paul Maholm (3-3, 3.08 ERA) will get the start for the Braves, no doubt hoping for more support than he received in his last outing. On Wednesday, he found himself on the wrong end of a 2-0 loss, giving up only a home run to Ian Desmond and two infield singles over eight innings.

"I can't say I'm happy, because obviously, we didn't win," Maholm said. "I can look at it and say I pitched well enough to win."

The start served as a nice rebound for Maholm, who gave up eight runs in his previous appearance, on April 26 against the Tigers. He has surrendered only five runs the rest of the season.

Maholm has plenty of experience against the Reds from his days with the Pirates, going 1-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 11 career starts at Great American Ball Park. His last game there came in 2010.

Reds: Arroyo doing his part
Like his counterpart on Monday, Reds starter Bronson Arroyo ran into some bad fortune in his last start. On Tuesday, he threw an efficient seven innings against the Cardinals but gave up a two-run homer to Matt Holliday and was outdueled by Jaime Garcia.

"I can't complain about it -- 78 pitches in seven innings," Arroyo said. "I commanded the lineup the way I wanted to. I pitched a great ballgame, but Mr. Garcia pitched a little bit better."

Arroyo (2-3, 3.95 ERA) has held the opposition to two earned runs in three of his past four starts. The veteran righty owns a 5.34 ERA in 16 career games against the Braves.

Worth noting
• The Reds took five of six games from the Braves last season, including all four in Cincinnati. They have beaten Atlanta six straight times at Great American Ball Park, going back to 2011.

• Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is 18-for-51 (.353) with four home runs and 10 RBIs against Maholm. Lefties Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are a combined 5-for-37 (.135), although Bruce has two homers and four RBIs.

• Phillips left Sunday's game before the bottom of the eighth inning because he was having trouble seeing. Phillips is expected to be able to play on Monday. Comments