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Ludwick back at cleanup spot for Reds

DENVER -- Ryan Ludwick returned to the cleanup slot in the Reds' lineup for Friday's series opener in Colorado. It was his first time batting fourth since Opening Day.

Ludwick tore the labrum in his right shoulder sliding into third in the season's inaugural tilt, and he was on the disabled list until Aug. 12, recovering from surgery.

The Reds are 10-7 since his return, and he hit safely in seven of his last 10 games entering Friday for a .303 (10-for-33) average. Ludwick was a career .377 (26-for-69) hitter at Coors Field, the site of Friday's series opener, with eight homers and 22 RBIs.

He was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI in Wednesday's 10-0 rout of the Cardinals, a game in which the Reds tallied 13 hits.

"We were excited before, we were just getting our butts kicked," manager Dusty Baker said of the attitude shift in the dugout Wednesday after losing the first two games of the series to the first-place Cardinals. "We know what's at stake; we know what's at hand. It's easy to get excited when you're beating somebody."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to
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