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Cincinnati (7-9) «000012010481
Chicago (4-11)000000100162

Reds' Simon shuts down Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- For the Cincinnati Reds, there was no better place to open a 10-game trip than Wrigley Field.

Alfredo Simon lowered his ERA to 0.86, and the Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 Friday for their 16th win in their last 17 games at the Friendly Confines.

Making his third start, Simon (2-1) allowed an unearned run in six-plus innings and sent the Cubs to their fifth straight loss. Simon, in the rotation while Mat Latos recovers from elbow and knee injuries, had made 99 relief appearances for the Reds before getting a chance to start this year.

"He's wanted more opportunity. We've given that to him," manager Bryan Price said. "I think it was a good idea that we brought him into camp to start in case we had an injury or didn't have the depth. And our good fortune is that he came in ready to go and had a great spring and is off to a good start."

Simon struck out three and walked two.

"I feel great," he said. "I just tried to keep the ball down today and just try to (get ground balls)."

Jonathan Broxton pitched a hitless ninth for his second save in two tries, completing a six-hitter for the Reds, who stretched their winning streak to a season-best three and have won four of five.

Cincinnati, which won last year's season series 14-5, went ahead on Billy Hamilton's RBI double in the fifth. The Reds made it 3-0 in the sixth when Zack Cozart hit a bases-loaded grounder to third, and second baseman Emilio Bonifacio's relay for a double-play attempt went wide of first for an error that allowed Ryan Ludwick to score from second. Ludwick had reached on catcher's interference by Welington Castillo.

"Believe me, we don't take it for granted that we're coming in here to win all the games," Price said. "I mean, we want to but we don't take it for granted at all."

Jeff Samardzija (0-2) gave up three runs -- one earned -- and six hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. He is 0-4 despite a 3.86 ERA in 10 starts since winning at San Diego on Aug. 24.

"It's a tough day to hit with that wind," he said. "It's just the way it goes sometimes. You can't let it get to you."

Luis Valbuena hit an RBI single in the seventh, ending a 24-inning scoreless streak for the Cubs dating to Sunday's loss to St. Louis.

Cincinnati scored another run in the eighth on a wild pitch by Justin Grimm.

"I think we we're a little sloppy in general, and Jeff really kept us in the ballgame throughout," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "I think we'll do better."

Notes

Reds 2B Brandon Phillips left in the middle of the third, two innings after he felt back spasms after he swung and missed a Samardzija pitch. Price said Phillips was removed as a precaution and said he was hopeful Phillips could play Saturday. ... Price said LHP Aroldis Chapman has been cleared to throw batting practice for the first time since he was hit in the face by a line drive during an exhibition game on March 19. ... Reds LHP Sean Marshall (sore left shoulder) has rejoined the Reds and could be activated this weekend. ... The Reds stole five bases. ... Jon Tinker, a grandson of former Cubs Hall of Fame shortstop Joe Tinker of Tinker to Evers to Chance fame, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Cincinnati's scheduled starter Saturday is LHP Tony Cingrani (1-1), while RHP Edwin Jackson (0-1) is to start for the Cubs.

 
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Alfredo Simon's ERA drops to a miniscule 0.86 as he goes six-plus innings against the Cubs.  (USATSI)
Alfredo Simon's ERA drops to a miniscule 0.86 as he goes six-plus innings against the Cubs. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

A. Simon
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 2
K 3
Chicago

J. Samardzija
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 2
K 7
 
Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Billy Hamilton, CF4011010 .176
Joey Votto, 1B3000210 .309
Brandon Phillips, 2B2010010 .313
   Ramon Santiago, 2B3000012 .167
Jay Bruce, RF5110033 .157
Todd Frazier, 3B3100111 .224
Ryan Ludwick, LF3120000 .289
   Roger Bernadina, LF0000000 .118
Devin Mesoraco, C3110112 .480
Zack Cozart, SS4011012 .120
Alfredo Simon, P3000004 .143
   Sam LeCure, P0000000 .000
   Manny Parra, P0000000 .000
   a-Neftali Soto, PH1010000 .500
   Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
Totals34482410  
a-singled for Parra in the 9th
Batting
2B - Billy Hamilton (2, Samardzija), Jay Bruce (2, Samardzija)
SH - Billy Hamilton (2)
RBI - Billy Hamilton (2), Zack Cozart (4)
2-OUT RBI - Billy Hamilton (2)
SB - Billy Hamilton (5, 3rd base off Samardzija/Castillo), Joey Votto (1, 2nd base off Russell/Castillo), Todd Frazier (2, 2nd base off Grimm/Castillo), Devin Mesoraco (1, 2nd base off Samardzija/Castillo), Neftali Soto (1, 3rd base off Russell/Castillo)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Todd Frazier (3, Misplayed grounder)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Alfredo Simon (W,2-1) 6410230 0.86
Sam LeCure (H,2) 1.1100030 1.42
Manny Parra (H,2) 0.2100000 2.08
Jonathan Broxton (S,2) 1000120 0.00
IBB - Valbuena by Alfredo Simon
Pitches-Strikes - Alfredo Simon 101-61, Sam LeCure 18-13, Manny Parra 11-7, Jonathan Broxton 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alfredo Simon 10-5, Manny Parra 2-0
Batters Faced - Alfredo Simon 24, Sam LeCure 5, Manny Parra 3, Jonathan Broxton 4
Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B3010112 .339
Junior Lake, LF4000031 .238
Anthony Rizzo, 1B4020000 .345
Nate Schierholtz, RF4000003 .231
Starlin Castro, SS4110001 .295
Ryan Sweeney, CF4000010 .152
Welington Castillo, C4010012 .209
Luis Valbuena, 3B2011200 .226
Jeff Samardzija, P2000012 .111
   a-Ryan Kalish, PH1000002 .154
   Justin Grimm, P0000000 .000
   James Russell, P0000000 .000
   b-Justin Ruggiano, PH1000011 .136
Totals3316138  
a-popped out for Samardzija in the 7th
b-struck out for Russell in the 9th
Batting
2B - Welington Castillo (2, Simon)
RBI - Luis Valbuena (2)
PK - Emilio Bonifacio (3, Simon)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Emilio Bonifacio (2, Throwing), Welington Castillo (1, Interference)
Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeff Samardzija (L,0-2) 7631270 1.29
Justin Grimm 1111110 1.04
James Russell 1100120 3.86
WP - Jeff Samardzija (2), Justin Grimm (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Samardzija 114-78, Justin Grimm 27-14, James Russell 21-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Samardzija 9-5, Justin Grimm 1-1, James Russell 1-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Samardzija 30, Justin Grimm 5, James Russell 5
Game Information
Attendance - 28699
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 38
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Marvin Hudson, Second Base - Cory Blaser, Third Base - Jim Joyce