The Reds appear to have a good chance to continue that outstanding pitching and their lengthy winning streak at Wrigley Field with Mat Latos taking the ball in Thursday's finale.
Mike Leake provided the latest strong outing Wednesday when he allowed one run and three hits in eight innings to lead Cincinnati to a 2-1 victory over the Cubs (25-38), who have lost eight of 10.
The Reds (40-26) are 19-3 in the last 22 meetings with Chicago, including a franchise-best 12 straight road wins - the longest streak by an opponent at Wrigley.
"We're just having fun. That's the only thing I can say," said third baseman Todd Frazier , who homered for the second straight game and gave the Reds the lead in the seventh inning. "We're relaxed when we play here. We like playing here."
Though they had a 7.63 ERA in a stretch of four losses in five games, the Reds have bounced back with a 1.33 ERA in this series.
They should be feeling confident with Latos (6-0, 2.87 ERA) on the mound as they try for the four-game sweep. The right-hander has a chance to become the first Red to be unbeaten with an ERA below 3.00 after 14 starts.
He also hasn't lost in a team-record 20 starts, going 10-0 with a 2.65 ERA while leading Cincinnati to a 17-3 record.
Latos has earned two of those victories against the Cubs, yielding three runs over 12-plus innings versus them this season. He's 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA in seven career starts against Chicago, winning both outings at Wrigley.
Chicago has struggled at Wrigley with a .158 batting average while losing seven of eight there. They weren't able to get anything going again Wednesday, aside from Schierholtz's homer in the second.
"It's frustrating because it's the same game," manager Dale Sveum said. "Starting pitchers pitching into the seventh inning, quality starts. And we're not having quality at-bats on an everyday basis."
Scheduled starter Jeff Samardzija (3-7, 3.18) has received three runs of support in his last two starts, though he hasn't been sharp.
He went 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA despite 18 strikeouts in those 12 1-3 innings after going 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA over his previous three outings.
Samardzija is 1-2 with a 2.55 ERA in four career starts versus the Reds, allowing two earned runs over 12 innings while going 0-1 in two outings against them this season.
Frazier and Shin-Soo Choo have taken the right-hander deep in 2013.
|June 01, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|May 21, 2013||Sean Marshall||15-Day DL||Sprained left shoulder|
|April 28, 2013||Chris Heisey||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 27, 2013||Chris Heisey||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained hamstring|
|April 24, 2013||Manny Parra||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral muscle|
|April 24, 2013||Manny Parra||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral muscle|
|June 12, 2013||Zach Putnam||15-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|June 11, 2013||Zach Putnam||Day-to-Day||Left game - Undisclosed injury|
|May 27, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|May 27, 2013||Rafael Dolis||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|May 26, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right forearm strain|
|May 22, 2013||Shawn Camp||15-Day DL||Sprained right big toe|
CHICAGO (AP) -- It took the Chicago Cubs 14 innings before they finally found a way to beat Cincinnati at home.
Pinch-hitter Julio Borbon singled home the winning run with two outs in the 14th and Chicago beat the Reds 6-5 on Thursday to end Cincinnati's record 12-game winning streak at Wrigley Field.
"I was ready from probably the ninth inning on, probably even a little earlier, just trying to get that opportunity to go up there and help in any way possible," Borbon said. "It feels pretty good."
The Cubs hadn't beaten Cincinnati at home since last Aug. 9. With the win, Chicago avoided a four-game sweep and improved to 3-10 against the Reds this season.
Hector Rondon (1-0) pitched two innings for the victory and Chicago's bullpen finished with 13 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings in a game that lasted 5 hours, 7 minutes.
David DeJesus homered and Nate Schierholtz became the first player this season to hit two triples in a game for the Cubs, who had lost eight of 10 to fall a season-high 13 games below .500. They scored at least five runs for the first time since June 5.
"I think we needed that win today," Rondon said.
Jonathan Broxton (2-2) took the loss in the longest game for both teams this season.
The previous record for consecutive victories by a visitor at Wrigley Field was 10, by the St. Louis Cardinals (1943-44) and matched by the New York Giants (1950-51) and Montreal Expos (1982-83), according to STATS.
Chicago had lost 25 of 31 to the Reds dating to Sept. 13, 2011.
Starlin Castro led off the 14th with a single against Broxton and stole second when Anthony Rizzo struck out. Castro went to third on Alfonso Soriano 's groundout to first base, and Schierholtz was intentionally walked before Borbon came through.
Castro went 3 for 7 after entering in a 4-for-48 slump. He was back in the second spot in the lineup after dropping to seventh last week and hitting sixth on Wednesday, and came within a few feet of ending the game in the ninth when his double off the wall in left was knocked down by a stiff wind blowing in.
"That was by far, obviously, the best day he's had all year," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He should have had a walk-off home run. He crushed that ball. That was a shame. We would have been in New York by now."
The Cubs open a three-game series Friday night against the Mets.
Instead of using closer Aroldis Chapman in the 14th, Reds manager Dusty Baker went to Broxton.
Baker said he didn't want to use Broxton because of a sore right elbow and had him "penciled in as a no" but tried to "sneak" him through one inning.
"(Chapman) was my last pitcher to close out the game," Baker said.
Mat Latos was trying to win his seventh straight decision to start the season for Cincinnati. He allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings.
Latos has won his last 10 regular-season decisions since losing to the Cardinals on Aug. 24, and the Cincinnati bullpen has blown saves in five of his games this season.
This time, however, Reds relievers did a nice job after Latos left. They allowed two runs over 7 2-3 innings.
"I felt good, because I was throwing my pitches for strikes for the most part," said Curtis Partch , who tossed four scoreless innings. "It definitely helped me out to get some quick outs. Definitely helped me to go those four innings and not throw too many pitches."
Jeff Samardzija pitched six innings for Chicago, allowing five runs and a season-high 10 hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out six.
Since beating the White Sox with a two-hitter on May 27, Samardzija is winless in three starts.
Chicago tied the score at 5 in the eighth Darwin Barney 's two-out single off Sam LeCure .
Cincinnati scored twice in the second on RBI singles by Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo and added two in the fifth on run-scoring singles by Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips .
Jay Bruce had four hits for the Reds. Choo reached base three times and scored twice.
Zack Cozart reached on Castro's second error at shortstop leading off the 14th and advanced to third on Bruce's two-out single. Rondon struck out Derrick Robinson to end the threat, Cincinnati's first in extra innings.
NOTES: Baker and Sveum were both impressed by the pace of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night, won 4-3 in triple overtime by the Chicago Blackhawks. Baker went to United Center but left after regulation and said watching the game was an inspiration to return to the World Series. Sveum watched the entire game on TV. ... The Reds said it's possible RHP Johnny Cueto could start Sunday against the Brewers. Cueto has been on the disabled list since June 1 with a strained right shoulder. ... Cubs RHP Shawn Camp , on the DL since May 22 with sprained right big toe, is expected to work two innings in a rehab assignment Friday for Class-A Kane County. ... Bronson Arroyo (6-5, 3.35 ERA) starts Friday for the Reds against Milwaukee RHP Kyle Lohse (2-6, 4.03). ... Cubs RHP Edwin Jackson (2-8, 5.76) opposes Mets RHP Shaun Marcum (0-7, 4.96) on Friday night.