Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Alfredo Simon yielded one unearned run
through six-plus innings as the Cincinnati Reds dealt the sputtering Chicago
Cubs a 4-1 loss at Wrigley Field.
Two days after being shut out in both ends of a doubleheader against the New
York Yankees, the Cubs mustered just six hits off Simon and three Cincinnati
relievers en route to a fifth consecutive defeat.
The lack of offense saddled Jeff Samardzija (0-2) with yet another hard-luck
loss despite the Chicago ace permitting three runs -- one earned -- and
fanning seven over seven solid innings.
Samardzija has received just four runs of support in four starts this season,
during which he's produced a 1.29 ERA.
Simon (2-1), who permitted four hits and walked two, was aided by an RBI
double by Billy Hamilton and an error by Cubs second baseman Emilio Bonifacio
that allowed two runs to score in the sixth.
"Today I think we were a little sloppy in general," said Cubs manager Rick
Renteria. "Jeff really kept us in the ball game throughout."
Jonathan Broxton finished off Cincinnati's 16th victory in its last 17 visits
to Wrigley with a hitless ninth to record his second save of the year.
Both starting pitchers were extremely stingy as the opener of this three-game
series remained scoreless through four innings of play, with Simon giving up
just two singles over that span and the Reds managing just three hits against
Cincinnati was able to scratch home a run in the fifth. Devin Mesoraco led off
with a single, stole second and crossed the plate when Cubs left fielder
Junior Lake couldn't make a diving stab on Hamilton's two-out sinking liner
that resulted in a double.
Things fell apart for Samardzija and the Cubs an inning later, as the right-
hander served up a leadoff double to Jay Bruce and walked Mesoraco to load the
bases after Ryan Ludwick was granted first on catcher's interference. He then
got Zack Cosart to ground into a potential inning-ending double play, but
Bonifacio threw wildly to first to enable both Bruce and Ludwick to cross the
Simon continued to cruise until the seventh, when Starlin Castro singled and
Todd Frazier mishandled Ryan Sweeney's grounder to third to put two aboard and
end the Cincinnati starter's afternoon. Luis Valbuena's RBI single off Sam
LeCure finally halted the Cubs' 24-inning scoreless streak, though Chicago
failed to do any further damage to keep it a 3-1 game.
"I was on the fence as to whether I wanted [Simon] to go back out there for
the seventh because he wasn't real sharp in the sixth," said Reds manager
Bryan Price. "But he managed the inning well, and I felt like I wanted to give
him a shot there and start the inning and see if he could get a couple of
quick outs for us. But it ended up playing out really well."
The Reds tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when Frazier walked, beat
the throw to second on a pickoff attempt and eventually came home on a wild
pitch from Justin Grimm.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips left after 2 1/2 innings after appearing
to injure his lower back while swinging in his first at-bat ... Samardzija has
now gone 0-4 with six no-decisions in 10 outings since last winning at San
Diego on Aug. 24 of last season ... Mesoraco has hit safely in all seven games
since coming off the disabled list on Apr. 7, batting .480 (12-for-25) during
that stretch ... The Reds stole a season-high five bases.