Right-hander Alfredo Simon picked up his second win in three starts, holding the Chicago Cubs to a single run on four hits in the Cincinnati Reds’ 4-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field on Friday.
Simon pitched six innings, while Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija pitched a strong seven on the way to the a defeat.
The Reds opened a 1-0 lead in the fifth when leadoff batter Billy Hamilton looped a ball past diving left fielder Junior Lake to score catcher Devin Mesoraco from third, with Hamilton ending up with a double.
Mesoraco had reached on a single, stole second and advanced to third when Simon tapped a grounder in front of the place.
The Reds had the bases loaded in the sixth with one out for shortstop Zack Cozart, who appeared to ground to third into an inning-inning double play.
But Cozart wound up safe at first when second baseman Emilio Bonifacio’s throw to first went wide. with right fielder Jay Bruce and left fielder Ryan Ludwick coming home on the error to make it 3-0.
The Reds pulled Simon in the seventh after two runners reached on a lead-off single by shortstop Starlin Castro and an error that put center fielder Ryan Sweeney on base.
Cubs third-baseman Luis Valbuena greeted right-handed reliever Sam LeCure with an RBI single to right that cut the Reds’ lead to 3-1.
Simon allowed four hits, an unearned run and walked two, one intentionally, while striking out three in six innings.
Samardzija was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh. He gave up one earned run on seven hits in seven innings, while walking two, striking out seven and throwing a wild pitch.
The Reds made it 4-1 in the eighth inning when third baseman Todd Frazier scored from third on right-handed reliever Justin Grimm’s wild pitch.
In the ninth, the Reds had pinch hitter Neftali Soto on third base and Joey Votto at second after a double steal with one out. But left-hander James Russell, the Cubs third pitcher of the day, worked out of the jam.
Reds right-hander Jonathan Broxton faced four batters in a scoreless ninth to wrap up the victory.
The win gives Cincinnati their third straight win and will go for number four tomorrow afternoon at 2:20pm. Game will be on FSN Ohio.