The Reds entered Thursday burdened by their first three-game losing streak since mid-April and have had trouble scoring runs. But an unwanted guest named "panic" had yet to be granted access into the clubhouse.
Manager Dusty Baker rarely goes negative and he didn't on Wednesday, when he held a pregame meeting to perk up his hitters.
"I think he just reiterated the fact that this is a tough game," Reds right fielder Jay Bruce said Thursday. "There will be some lulls, but you have to minimize them and really focus on the positive. Stick to what you've been doing, which is what has made us successful."
Cincinnati was outscored, 25-5, over its previous past three games against the Dodgers and Royals. Until a run scored in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 6-2 loss, the Reds had scored one run in a span of 22 innings, including 14 straight scoreless innings.
"This is a game of failure, it's tough," Bruce said. "Panicking, it feeds itself. A little comes here and little more comes there when there's more failure. It's a downward spiral. You have to take a step back and realize it's just been a few games. All it takes is a few games to turn it around. [Baker] reminded us of the fact that we are a good team. We are a winning team and this stuff doesn't last."
For his part, Bruce's sixth-inning single on Wednesday snapped an 0-for-10 run. He drew a one-out walk against tough lefty reliever Hong-Chih Kuo in the following plate appearance in the eighth that loaded the bases.
"I still have some stuff to work on," said Bruce, who entered the day batting .268 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs. "I'm hanging around and getting my hits but there's some more adjustments I need to make in order to be where I want to be. It will come."