CHICAGO (AP) — Alfredo Simon lowered his ERA to 0.86, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 Friday for their 16th win in their last 17 games at Wrigley Field.
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 is in the rotation while Mat Latos recovers from elbow and knee injuries.
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.
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.
Chicago, last in the NL Central at 4-11, has given Samardzija just four runs of support while’s been in the game during three starts this year.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips left in the middle of the third, two innings after he felt back spasms after he swung and missed a Samardzija pitch.
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 Luwick to score from second. Ludwick had reached on catcher’s interference by Welington Castillo.
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.
NOTES: 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. … Reds manager Bryan 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. … Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta was back in Chicago so he could throw a bullpen session in front of pitching coach Chris Bosio. Arrieta has been on the disabled list since spring training with right shoulder tightness and is expected to make his fourth minor league injury rehabilitation start next week, his first at Triple-A Iowa. … Reds LHP Sean Marshall (sore left shoulder) has rejoined the Reds and could be activated this weekend. … Cincinnati’s scheduled starter Saturday is LHP Tony Cingrani (1-1), while RHP Edwin Jackson (0-1) is to start for the Cubs.