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AP: 3570e5d7-9c4c-4bcc-aec8-6fe222cd1ba4
Cincinnati Reds' Ryan Ludwick, right, is tagged out between third and home by Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius, left, after Bronson Arroyo grounded into a fielders choice in the fourth inning during a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
Heading into their series opener at Great American Ballpark Monday night, only five games separated the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks in the race for the National League's second Wild Card spot.

But with a little patience and a big inning at the plate, the former had no problem showing the latter that things may not be as close as they appear in the standings.

Through the first three innings, the Reds' offense saw a total of 50 pitches from D-backs starter Randall Delgado. While part of that was a result of the right-hander's inability to consistently locate his fastball -- two walks issued to first 10 batters faced -- the other part was strategic-based.

After working several counts deep early in the game, the first four Cincinnati batters -- Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick -- to step to the plate in the fourth inning didn't wait long to pounce on the 24-year-old, as Delgado yielded three quick runs on a three singles, a double and a ground out.

When the dust settled, Delgado's confidence was rattled and the Reds had more than enough momentum to carry them to a 5-3 victory over the D-backs.

The Good:

Aaron Hill and Martin Prado continue to serve as the straw that stirs the D-backs' offensive drink.

Hill extended his 12-game hitting streak with a solo shot in the fourth inning.

Prado recorded his fourth multi-hit game in his last five starts and kept Arizona close with a two-run single in the sixth inning.

The two have combined for 53 hits in the month of August.

The Bad:

After throwing six quality outings in his first eight starts with the D-backs, Delgado has now allowed 16 runs in his last four appearances.

The D-backs hit into two double plays Monday night and both proved to be costly.

With two on and one out in the first inning, Aaron Hill stopped Arizona's first scoring threat of the night with a routine 6-4-3 twin killing.

Then, serving as the tying run in the ninth inning, Wil Nieves chopped a ball up the middle off of Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. However, shortstop Zack Cozart ran it down and flipped it to second baseman Brandon Phillips, who completed the double play with a miraculous jump throw to Joey Votto at first.

Noted:

-Didi Gregorius has hit safely in four straight games for the first time since June 1-7.

-Left fielder Jason Kubel made his first start since Aug. 3 and went 1-for-4 at the plate with two strikeouts.

-Despite scoring just three runs, every position player outside of Nieves had at least one hit.

-Bronson Arroyo has won three straight starts for the first time in 2013.

Up Next:

The D-backs will look to even up their four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night at Great American Ballpark. Left-hander Patrick Corbin (12-3, 2.48 ERA) takes the mound for Arizona. The 2013 All-Star is winless in his last four starts. He'll be opposed by rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani (6-2, 2.78 ERA). First pitch is at 4:10 p.m. MST and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620.

Dave Dulberg, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com

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