CHICAGO – The Cubs got another strong outing from a starting pitcher. They wasted it again.
Travis Wood gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings, but Cincinnati’s Mike Leake outpitched him and the Reds beat the Cubs, 2-1, on Wednesday.
“It’s frustrating because it’s the same game,” Cubs 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. We’re not getting three, four, five quality at-bats from the guys going up there on a daily basis.”
Wood (5-5) gave up Todd Frazier’s solo home run in the seventh that broke a 1-1 tie. Wood held the Reds hitless until Cesar Izturis’s two-out infield single in the fifth and tossed his 12th quality start in 13 games.
The Cubs have dropped eight of 10 and they haven’t had more than six hits in any of their past six games. In their past five losses, they’ve scored seven runs total.
“We try not to think about [the lack of run support],” Wood said. “We’re just out there trying to do all we can, help any way we can and out there supporting all our teammates.”
Anthony Rizzo is hitting .156 over his past 10 games, during which he has five hits.
“Personally it’s frustrating, but the whole team is frustrating even more,” Rizzo said. “One person can struggle, hopefully other people pick us up. The whole team is struggling right now. That’s probably the most frustrating part. We’re all in this together, it’s a battle. You just got to keep going.”
Leake (6-3) gave up a second-inning home run off the bat of Nate Schierholtz for his only run and only allowed three hits total in eight inning, while striking out six and walking one with the threat of bad weather looming,
“The tempo of the game was going pretty well,” Leake said. “So I never felt that long 30-minute inning where I was sitting. It was nice that it was a quick-moving game.”
Leake helped lead the Reds to a record 12th straight victory at Wrigley Field, and the loss drop the Cubs to a season-low 13 games under .500 and 7-21 against division rivals.
“I think it’s going to test everyone’s character,” Rizzo said. “Yeah, we are far out of it and obviously we aren’t playing very well right now. It’s going to test everyone’s character and it’s going to be a grind. We’re just going to have to have fun. If you look out there, it doesn’t look like anyone’s having fun right now. We’re just going to have to pick each other up.”
Notes: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro went 0 for 3 and is in a 4-for-48 slide (.083). He hit in the No. 6 slot for only the second time in his career. ... Choo, normally the Reds’ leadoff hitter, was second in the batting order while Derrick Robinson was first. Choo entered 0 for 6 with four strikeouts against Wood. ... The Cubs placed RHP Zach Putnam on the 15-day DL and recalled LHP Brooks Raley from Triple-A Iowa. ... When asked if LHP Tony Cingrani would stay in the Cincinnati rotation, manager Dusty Baker said “Who’s spot is he going to take?” Cingrani gave up two earned runs in seven innings Tuesday, but the Reds hope Johnny Cueto will be able to return Sunday against Milwaukee. ... Alfonso Soriano pinch hit and had a game-ending groundout. ... Thursday’s pitching matchup is Cincinnati’s Mat Latos (6-0, 2.87 ERA) against the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija (3-7, 3.18). ... Phillips has 616 RBIs as a second baseman, four more than Joe Morgan’s previous Reds record. Phillips passed Morgan on Monday with six RBIs.