The Reds (8-10) entered the series having won three of their last four while the Cubs (5-12) were in the middle of a four game losing streak and had lost five of their last six. The streaks continued for each team on Friday when Alfredo Simon (2-1) dazzled once again to lower his ERA to 0.86 in 21 innings this season and held the Cubs to one unearned run in a 4-1 victory.
The Cubs briefly snapped their losing streak Saturday when they roughed up Tony Cingrani (1-2) 8-4. The Cubs glory was short lived as Cincinnati smacked around Carlos Villanueva (1-4) for five doubles and five runs in 4.2 innings. That was enough to back Homer Bailey (1-1) who went six innings for his longest outing of the season.
The scoring started in the fourth when Devin Mesoraco doubled in Todd Frazier with two outs. That was followed by another double by Zack Cozart to score Mesoraco and then Bailey helped his own cause by singling home Cozart for a 3-0 lead.
That lead grew to 4-0 when Jay Bruce and Frazier ripped back-to-back two out doubles and then Ryan Ludwick scorched a single to plate Frazier. Cincinnati jumped on Jose Veras for two more in the seventh when Bruce hit a solo homer then Cozart added a two-run home run for an 8-0 lead.
Chicago tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh against Manny Parra, who gave up two runs and left the bases loaded for Sam LeCure to inherit. LeCure got the Reds out of the jam when Wellington Castillo grounded into an inning-ending double play.
LeCure stayed on to pitch a scoreless eighth and then Sean Marshall made his first appearance of the season since being activated from the disabled list on Saturday. He threw 26 pitches in his one inning and had one strikeout to close out the victory the Reds. To make room for Marshall, the Reds optioned Curtis Partch back to Louisville.
Cincinnati continues its road trip when it heads to Pittsburgh on Monday. Mike Leake (2-1, 2.95 ERA) will face Francisco Liriano (0-3, 3.96 ERA) with first pitch set for 7:00 p.m. The Pirates are in the middle of skid losing eight of their last ten including three straight to Milwaukee. The Brewers and the Pirates also got into a bench clearing brawl Sunday, so the Pirates may have to deal with some suspensions during the series with the Reds.