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Reds come home on a down note after successful June

The Reds give, and they take away. The roller coaster ride of a season hit the midway point Sunday at a high point with the team a season-high five games over .500, but a joyous June gave way to a so-far joyless July.

Cincinnati lost three straight in San Diego and returns home for an important three-game series against the first-place Brewers on a down note. Through Wednesday, the Reds were three games out of the wild-card race and seven games back in the National League Central. With their recent slide, they slipped into fourth place, a game back of the Pirates.

The offense fell to earth in San Diego with a total of two runs in three games. That followed a standout June. Consider this:

• The Reds ranked last in baseball in May with 86 runs scored. In June, they ranked third with 135.

• Billy Hamilton was voted NL Rookie of the Month in June after hitting .327. He drove in 18 runs in the month after collecting a total of 10 RBIs in the first two months of the season.

• Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier combined for 14 home runs in June, putting them both on pace to shatter their previous career highs.

• Jay Bruce’s bat finally started to show some life after a dreadful April and May. He hit .300 in June with 17 RBIs. He didn’t drive in a run in 41 at-bats in an injury-shortened May.

For as many positive signs the Reds showed last month, they lost their momentum with three losses to a team nine games under .500.

Now on the Fourth of July, the Reds (43-41) face the NL’s best team, the Brewers (51-35), who were just as hot in June as the Reds. Alfredo Simon (10-3, 2.81) tries to build his case for the All-Star Game in the series opener tonight against Kyle Lohse (9-2, 3.08).

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