(SportsNetwork.com) - Johnny Cueto tries to win his third consecutive decision on Friday when the Cincinnati Reds continue a four-game series versus the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
Cueto has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season leads the majors in ERA (1.86) and WHIP (0.845) and is tied for fifth in strikeouts (119). He beat Toronto on Sunday to run his record to 7-5, as he allowed three runs (one earned) and seven hits and struck out eight over eight innings.
He hasn't faced the Giants yet this season, but the last time he did take the mound at AT&T Park -- on June 28, 2012 -- he gave up three runs (two earned) in six innings, picking up the loss.
San Francisco will counter with an equally impressive hurler of its own in lefty Madison Bumgarner, who is 9-4 with a 2.63 ERA this season. Bumgarner won in Arizona on Sunday, as he surrendered just an unearned run and two hits over eight innings.
He has lowered his ERA from 3.38 in his last six starts and has pitched at least seven innings in each of them.
Bumgarner is 2-2 in five starts versus the Reds with a 4.11 ERA.
Cincinnati struck first in this series on Thursday, as Mike Leake struck out a career-high 12 in the Reds' 3-1 triumph. Brandon Phillips, who missed the past three games with a bruised heel, delivered a homer, while Zack Cosart and Ryan Ludwick each knocked in a run for the Reds, who have won five of their last six.
Leake (6-6), who never had a double-digit strikeout game in his career entering Thursday, allowed one run on four hits and a walk over eight innings of work.
"You know what as a young guy we've seen him evolve," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "His stuff has gotten better. He's pitching with the best velocity of his career."
Ryan Vogelsong (5-4) took the loss after giving up one run on five hits with seven punchouts over six innings. Vogelsong was on the hook in the seventh when reliever Jean Machi was tagged for two runs in the inning.
"We have to get some other guys going," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "We're a little cold right now."
The Giants won two of the three meetings earlier this month. Cincinnati has beaten the Giants in the season series each year from 2011-2013.