Chicago at Cincinnati

Scoreboard
Chicago (38-52)001000000150
Cincinnati (49-42) «01003000x470

Simon first in NL to win 12, Reds work past Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Alfredo Simon leads the National League in wins. He's still hoping to be added to the All-Star team.

Simon became the NL's first 12-game winner and Billy Hamilton added to his sensational series with a tiebreaking triple Wednesday night, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over the trade-depleted Chicago Cubs.

The Reds won their fifth in a row -- matching their season high -- and moved a season-best seven games over .500. After winning the first four games of the series, they'll try for their first five-game sweep since 1976 on Thursday.

Cincinnati moved within 2 1/2 games of first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central, its smallest deficit since April 7. The Reds were a season-high 8 1/2 out on June 22.

Simon (12-3), left off the NL All-Star roster Sunday, became the first Reds pitcher to win a dozen games before the break since Edinson Volquez also went 12-3 in the first half of 2008. The reliever-turned-starter gave up four hits in 6 2-3 innings, including Anthony Rizzo's third homer in four games.

If another pitcher has to pull out of the All-Star game next week, Simon would be considered.

"I'm really happy with myself," he said. "I think I have the numbers to be on the All-Star team. I don't know what's going to happen. They told me to stand by."

Hamilton tripled home a run and scored during a three-run fifth against Dallas Beeler (0-2), who has lost his first two starts in the majors. Cubs manager Rick Renteria was ejected during the inning for arguing a foul ball call with third base umpire Andy Fletcher.

Hamilton is 7 for 15 with three triples, three walks, two steals and seven RBIs during the series. On Tuesday night, his ninth-inning single completed the Reds' comeback from a five-run deficit to a 6-5 win and a doubleheader sweep.

Hamilton flied out in his last at-bat and left the game because his left hamstring was tight. He expects to miss a few games.

"It's been bothering me for the past couple of days," Hamilton said. "I knew something was happening. On the last at-bat, I stepped down and I felt it pull when I started running."

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips also left in the eighth after spraining his left thumb while making a sliding catch. X-rays were negative. He wore a splint on the thumb as he left the clubhouse.

It's been a tough week for the Cubs, who have lost all six games -- their deepest slump of the season -- since they dealt starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for a package of prospects.

Beeler and several others will get a chance to move up from the minors and fill their spots. The 25-year-old pitcher gave up four runs, six hits and four walks in five innings.

Simon has been one of the majors' biggest surprises. Moved into the rotation when Mat Latos tore knee cartilage in spring training, the 33-year-old pitcher is having by far the best year of his career, ranking among the league leaders in several categories.

The right-hander walked two, matched his season high with eight strikeouts and threw 119 pitches, retiring 13 in a row during one stretch.

Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances. The left-hander has fanned at least one batter in each of his last 38 appearances, leaving him one shy of Bruce Sutter's record for a reliever since 1900.

The Cubs called up second baseman Arismendy Alcantara for a couple of days. The 22-year-old infielder batted second and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. He'll return to Triple-A Iowa when second baseman Darwin Barney returns from paternity leave.

Notes

The Reds' last sweep of a five-game series came against San Diego in 1976. They haven't swept the Cubs in a five-game series since 1931 at Redland Field. ... RHP Kyle Hendricks will make his major league debut on Thursday, facing Cincinnati's Homer Bailey (8-5). The Reds have won 10 of Bailey's last 11 starts against the Cubs. ... It was Renteria's fifth ejection. ... The Cubs optioned LHP Chris Rusin to Iowa to open a roster spot for Beeler.

 
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Reliever-turned-starter Alfredo Simon gives up four hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Cubs. (USATSI)
Reliever-turned-starter Alfredo Simon gives up four hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Cubs. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Chicago

A. Rizzo
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Cincinnati

A. Simon
IP 6.2
H 4
ER 1
BB 2
K 8
 

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Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Chris Coghlan, LF4000002 .254
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B4000020 .000
Anthony Rizzo, 1B3121110 .280
Starlin Castro, SS4010001 .279
Luis Valbuena, 3B3000012 .252
   a-Junior Lake, PH1000010 .221
Justin Ruggiano, CF4000030 .286
Ryan Sweeney, RF3010000 .222
   b-Mike Olt, PH1000010 .149
Welington Castillo, C2010110 .235
Dallas Beeler, P2000022 .250
   Justin Grimm, P0000000 .000
   c-Nate Schierholtz, PH1000011 .208
   Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
Totals32151213  
a-struck out for Valbuena in the 9th
b-struck out for Sweeney in the 9th
c-struck out for Grimm in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Sweeney (6, Simon)
HR - Anthony Rizzo (20, Simon)
RBI - Anthony Rizzo (49)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ryan Sweeney 1
Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dallas Beeler (L,0-2) 5644400 3.27
Justin Grimm 1000000 4.73
Wesley Wright 2100020 2.39
Pitches-Strikes - Dallas Beeler 96-58, Justin Grimm 8-5, Wesley Wright 21-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dallas Beeler 7-6, Justin Grimm 1-2, Wesley Wright 3-1
Batters Faced - Dallas Beeler 23, Justin Grimm 3, Wesley Wright 7
Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Billy Hamilton, CF3111100 .281
   Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
   Aroldis Chapman, P0000000 .000
Skip Schumaker, LF3100100 .248
Brandon Phillips, 2B3021000 .272
   Todd Frazier, 3B1010000 .291
Jay Bruce, RF3011111 .234
Devin Mesoraco, C4000015 .306
Brayan Pena, 1B3100103 .256
Ramon Santiago, 3B-2B3011000 .235
Zack Cozart, SS3110000 .238
Alfredo Simon, P1000000 .135
   Manny Parra, P0000000 .000
   a-Ryan Ludwick, PH1000000 .256
   Chris Heisey, CF0000000 .225
Totals2847442  
a-grounded out for Parra in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ramon Santiago (3, Beeler)
3B - Billy Hamilton (6, Beeler)
SH - Alfredo Simon (5)
RBI - Billy Hamilton (37), Brandon Phillips (40), Jay Bruce (41), Ramon Santiago (3)
2-OUT RBI - Billy Hamilton (11), Brandon Phillips (11), Jay Bruce (16), Ramon Santiago (1)
CS - Billy Hamilton (13, 2nd base by Beeler/Castillo)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
PB - Devin Mesoraco (5)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Alfredo Simon (W,12-3) 6.2411281 2.70
Manny Parra (H,12) 0.1000010 4.18
Jonathan Broxton (H,13) 1100010 0.60
Aroldis Chapman (S,19) 1000030 2.36
Pitches-Strikes - Alfredo Simon 119-72, Manny Parra 7-5, Jonathan Broxton 21-15, Aroldis Chapman 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alfredo Simon 10-2, Jonathan Broxton 2-0
Batters Faced - Alfredo Simon 26, Manny Parra 1, Jonathan Broxton 4, Aroldis Chapman 3
Game Information
Attendance - 32810
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Toby Basner, First Base - Mike Muchlinski, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Andy Fletcher