Cubs drop fifth straight series

Cubs drop fifth straight series
April 22, 2012, 9:32 pm
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CHICAGO (AP) Johnny Cueto threw 6 1-3 strong innings to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

Cueto (2-0) allowed one earned run, scattering five hits. He struck out seven and lowered his ERA to 1.78 for the season.

Two runners were on base with one out when Cueto exited in the seventh. With two outs and the bases loaded, Aroldis Chapman struck out Ian Stewart looking with a fastball that registered 99 miles per hour on the stadium scoreboard, preserving the lead.

Chapman also worked a scoreless eighth, though he did walk his first two batters this season. In 10 1-3 scoreless innings, Chapman has 18 strikeouts while allowing just three hits. Former Cub Sean Marshall pitched the ninth, picking up his third save in three opportunities.

The Reds capitalized on Chicago mistakes to break a 2-2 tie in the sixth. Cubs starter Randy Wells and reliever Scott Maine combined to walk two batters and hit one more, while Geovany Soto made two throwing errors on sacrifice bunt attempts.

All told, the Reds sent eight batters to the plate in the sixth, scoring two unearned runs without the benefit of a hit.

Wells was making his first start of the season in place of Ryan Dempster, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a right quad strain. Wells struggled with his command, walking five batters in five innings and throwing just 52 of his 93 pitches for strikes.

Wells managed to keep the damage to a minimum, limiting the Reds to two runs and leaving with a no-decision. Rodrigo Lopez (0-1) took the loss in relief.

Cincinnati left 13 runners on base, while Chicago stranded 12. The teams combined to leave the bases full five times.

Joey Votto doubled twice, walked twice, scored a run and drove in another to pace the Reds' offense. The slugging first baseman went his 14th straight game without a home run.

Ryan Hanigan singled and walked twice for the Reds.

Castro singled, tripled and scored two runs for the Cubs, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, the sixth streak at least that long in his young career. He has reached base in 55 of his last 56 games.

The Reds improved to 7-0 this season when they've scored more than three runs. Cincinnati is 0-9 when scoring less than four runs.

NOTES:

Wells was recalled before the game from Triple-A Iowa, taking the roster spot of Marlon Byrd. The Cubs' starting center fielder was traded to Boston on Saturday for reliever Michael Bowden and a player to be named later. . Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he plans to "mix and match" to fill the void in center field created by Byrd's departure, using a combination Campana, Reed Johnson and Joe Mather at the position. Campana started on Sunday. . Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips missed the game because of the lingering left hamstring injury that has caused him to miss six of Cincinnati's last 12 games.

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