Reds 1, Cubs 0

Todd Frazier gave Mat Latos all the run support he needed, and

Latos gave the Cincinnati Reds exactly what they needed to finish

off a 10-game homestand in style.

Latos retired the first 10 batters and 15 of the first 16 he

faced and mostly spared an overworked bullpen, and Frazier hit a

long home run and the Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 1-0 Wednesday.

”This is what we wanted so bad,” Reds manager Baker said.

”This sets us straight for a couple of days.”

With one out in the sixth inning of a scoreless tie, Frazier

blasted a 2-1 pitch from Jeff Samardzija 480 feet to straightaway

center field to increase his team-leading home run total to six.

The homer, which bounced high off the batter’s eye, is the longest

at Great American Ball Park this season and the seventh-longest in

the facility’s 11-year history.

”I was just trying to get a fastball,” said Frazier, who

became the first Cincinnati player to homer in a 1-0 win since Sean

Casey against St. Louis on Aug. 26, 2004. ”I haven’t seen too many

lately. I got one, and I took advantage of it. I took a couple of

steps and figured it was out, but I didn’t know how far until I saw

it hit the (batter’s eye).”

Latos (1-0), the victim of two blown saves among his first four

starts this season allowed four hits and a walk with four

strikeouts. He had to rely solely on his two- and four-seam

fastballs, too.

It turned out not to be a problem.

”In the bullpen, I had a really good slider and changeup,”

said Latos, who’s strung together 11 consecutive scoreless innings.

”I don’t know what the hell happened. It’s tough. Everybody in the

big leagues can hit the fastball. I had to focus on hitting spots,

keeping the ball down and away and getting them to hit it on the

ground.”

Jonathan Broxton replaced Latos with two runners on base and

nobody out in the eighth. Both runners moved up on Cody Ransom’s

sacrifice bunt, but pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano struck out and

shortstop Zack Cozart went deep behind second base to flag down

David DeJesus’s grounder and throw him out to end the inning.

”I was going to throw it regardless, because there were two

outs,” Cozart said. ”I saw out of the corner of my eye that he

wasn’t too close to the bag. I’ve been struggling at the plate

lately, so to make a play like that makes you feel pretty

good.”

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said that’s just the way it’s been going

for the Cubs, who are 1-5 on their current road trip.

”That was an unbelievable play in that situation,” he

said.

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his fourth save. Latos’s

effort left Cincinnati’s starting pitchers with a combined 5-0

record and 1.54 ERA on the homestand.

Samardzija (1-4) had his fourth consecutive loss after beating

Pittsburgh on Opening Day. The right-hander allowed seven hits and

three walks with eight strikeouts and a wild pitch.

The Reds had baserunners in each of the first five innings,

including the third, which Devin Mesoraco and Latos led off with

singles before Samardzija struck out Shin-Soo Choo, Cozart and Joey

Votto – the top three batters in Cincinnati’s lineup.

The Reds wrapped up the home stand, one of two of 10 games on

their schedule this season, with eight wins despite playing two

games that lasted 13 innings, another that went 10, a third that

was suspended almost 19 hours from one night to the next day by

rain, and Wednesday’s game, the start of which was delayed 89

minutes by rain. They won eight games on a homestand of 10 or fewer

games for just the sixth time in franchise history and the second

in two years. They went 8-2 against St. Louis, Arizona and

Milwaukee on a homestand last July.

”This was a weird home stand,” Cozart said. ”It was a battle

every game.”

NOTES: A sharp one-hopper by Julio Borbon, the second batter in

the game, glanced off Latos’s right foot. He recovered to grab the

ball and throw Borbon out and stayed in the game after a couple of

practice tosses in front of manager Dusty Baker and trainer Paul

Lessard. … Samardzija’s effort to catch Choo’s bouncer in the

bottom of the first left him with a slight cut on his pitching

hand, but it quickly closed enough to allow him to continue. …

Choo, who went into the game leading the major leagues with a .535

on-base percentage, has reached base at least once in all 21 of the

games he’s played this season.