Two months have passed since Jordan Montgomery earned a victory for the St. Louis Cardinals
"I am not (a) loser," Montgomery told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I'm going to keep giving them everything I've got out there. The team knows that. Manager knows it. Pitching coach knows it. Fan base knows it."
Montgomery (2-7, 4.23 ERA) hasn't won a game since April 8, when he threw seven shutout innings at Milwaukee.
"Baseball stinks," he said. "It's not always easy. It's not always going to go great. Everybody has to stick with what they do -- and try to do it better."
Montgomery struggled in his previous start against the Reds this season. He allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks in four innings at Cincinnati on May 22. He took a no-decision as the Cardinals lost 6-5 in 10 innings
He is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three career starts covering 16 innings against the Reds
In each of Montgomery's past two starts, St. Louis took a 4-3 loss, at Cleveland on May 28 and at Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The Cardinals are 7-14 in one-run games this season. They have lost seven of their past nine games overall, but they are coming off a 1-0 victory at Texas on Wednesday
"I think we've played some good baseball here recently, and we haven't come out on the good side of things," said Cardinals left fielder Alec Burleson, whose eighth-inning homer provided the only scoring in the finale against the Rangers. "But it'll be good to take that into (Thursday's off day), rest up and take that momentum into this weekend on both sides of the ball.
The Reds will give the ball to right-hander Ben Lively (3-3, 3.03 ERA), who will look to rebound from a 5-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday. Lively allowed all five runs on six hits, including two homers, in seven innings
"I was falling behind. I was struggling with my slider pretty much the whole game," he said.
In his previous three starts, Lively allowed just four runs in 17 1/3 innings (2.08 ERA).
"I probably put a lot of pressure on myself today, for sure, after the first couple of games," Lively said following the loss to the Brewers. "Just the struggle bus today. Sucks, but we'll get better through it."
Lively earned a 10-3 victory over the Cardinals on May 24 in his only career appearance against them. He allowed two runs on five hits over six innings while striking out eight and walking two
After winning eight of 12 games, the Reds fell 6-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. Cincinnati starter Graham Ashcraft was hit in the left foot by a comebacker in the third inning, so Fernando Cruz, Alex Young, Eduardo Salazar and Ian Gibault had to cover the last 6 1/3 innings
The work taxed the relief corps ahead of the Cardinals series
"Truthfully, with where we were with our bullpen, it was going to be very difficult to get through the game today," Reds manager David Bell said postgame. "It was just the price we paid for the last two games and having to use our bullpen a lot.
Reds outfielder Jake Fraley is questionable for Friday due to a right wrist contusion. Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson (sprained left ankle) could return this weekend after his rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis
--Field Level Media