Reds finish off sweep of Cubs
Mat Latos didn't feel well on Sunday but even his shakiest inning wasn't a deal breaker as the Cincinnati Reds completed a three-game series sweep with a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
"I've been sick the past couple of days and I was throwing up this morning," said Latos (3-0) who pitched four scoreless innings before allowing three runs in the fifth. "But (my pitching) was fine. I was cruising pretty much through the game ... then I just tried to minimize the (fifth inning) damage."
Latos earned his third win in consecutive starts and second over the Cubs in 11 days. J.J. Hoover worked the ninth inning for a save, his second.
Fortunately, Cincinnati bats compensated as Joey Votto went 3-for-5, including a double in the seventh inning that delivered what turned out to be the winning run.
Votto expects them to get even better.
"You look around the lineup and you've got a lot of guys underperforming," he said. "I'm pretty confident that their going to hit like the player they are."
The Reds survived a harrowing ninth after the Cubs put runners on second and third with two outs before slugger Alfonso Soriano popped up to end the game.
The road series win was the Reds' first of the season. The Cubs, meanwhile, have now dropped four straight.
Cincinnati broke a scoreless tie with three runs on four straight hits to open the fourth inning off Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson, who suffered his fifth straight loss.
Votto reached on a lead-off single and advanced to second on Brandon Phillips' hit to center. Votto scored on Jay Bruce's double to left. Phillips and Bruce came home as Todd Frazier followed with a single to center.
Shin-Soo Choo led off the fifth with a single, stole second and bolted for third when a throw from Cubs catcher Navarro missed its target. He scored on Zack Cozart's sacrifice to make it 4-0.
Jackson departed after that inning, allowing four earned runs on eight hits. He struck out five and walked just one.
"Three or four fastballs up in the zone right there and obviously got it," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He was better today ... but he was a little stymied right now and ground balls seemed to go through every hole.
"And their bullpen gave up one and we gave up three and that changed the game around."
Jackson said he felt good on the mound but couldn't avoid the big inning.
"For the most part we were attacking the big hitters at a pretty good pace and I made them hit the all today," Jackson said. "The result is to go out and win a ballgame, but as far as being comfortable I felt that I could go out and throw strikes and challenge hitters."
The Cubs scored twice in the fifth as Latos gave up back-to-back singles after two outs. What appeared to be an inning-ending fly to center by Soriano dropped for a hit when Phillips and Choo collided on the play.
Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo scored and the game was delayed as Reds' staff examined Phillips and Choo. Both stayed in the game.
Nate Schierholtz then looped a single to left that scored Soriano, trimming the Reds' lead to 4-3.
Latos' outing ended after that inning. He gave up six hits and three earned runs, walked three and struck out three.
Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol, whose poor Saturday outing led to a loss, entered in the sixth and worked a one-two-three inning with one strikeout.
The Reds extended the lead to 6-3 in the seventh as Votto lined a one-out double to the right field corner that scored pinch hitter Donald Lutz. Phillips followed with a sacrifice that brought home Cozart.
The Cubs got one run back in the seventh as Rizzo's grounder to third allowed David DeJesus to score from third. Lutz made it 7-4 in the eighth off Cubs reliever Kameron Loe when he hit into a fielder's choice that scored Frazier.
In the ninth, the Cubs put runners on first and third on reliever Hoover after Scott Hairston led off with a single and reached third on a botched fielder's choice throw by Hoover that also left DeJesus on first.
But Castro flied to right, Rizzo popped to left and Soriano popped foul to close the game.
Choo was 2-for-5 with a run scored while Frazier went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. DeJesus paced the Cubs with a 2-for-4 performance and one run.
NOTES: The victory was the 1,599th of Dusty Baker's career, tying him with former manager and Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda for 18th on the all-time list. He is 1,599-1,446 over a 20-year career. ... Lutz is the first German-developed player to appear in a Major League baseball game. He was recalled from Double-A Pensacola last Monday and got his first Major League hit in the sixth inning as a pinch-hitter on Sunday after an 0-for-6 start. ... The Cubs had stolen 23 bases in their first 30 games, second most in the National League behind Milwaukee (27) and are tied for third in the Major Leagues. ... Jeff Samardzija's 52 strikeouts are tied for second most in the National League with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett leads with 57. ... Soriano hit the 375 career home run mark on Saturday. His next will tie him with No. 69 Carlton Fisk (376) and with two he'll match Norm Cash and Jeff Kent in a tie for 67th.
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