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Cubs' Wells takes hill in finale at Cincinnati

It has been nearly two months since Randy Wells last suffered a loss, but that didn't stop the Reds from roughing up the Cubs starter the last time he faced them.

Wells goes for a sixth straight winning decision tonight in the finale of a four-game series with Cincinnati.

Wells is undefeated in eight starts since his last loss on July 28, pitching to a 3.02 earned run average in that span. The Cubs are 7-1 in those eight starts, but the lone loss came to the Reds on Aug. 7. Wells did not get a decision on that day despite allowing six runs over seven innings.

The 29-year-old righty had won three starts in a row before getting a no- decision against the Mets on Saturday. He allowed a pair of runs over seven innings of his team's 5-4 win, moving to 7-4 with a 4.73 ERA on the season.

Wells is 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA in eight career starts versus the Reds and will look to pitch the Cubs to a split of this set after they dropped two in a row following Monday's series-opening victory.

Cincinnati rolled to a 7-2 victory on Wednesday, getting an early three-run homer from Ramon Hernandez. Juan Francisco also drove in two runs with a single for the Reds, who had lost four in a row.

The Reds' bullpen came up big after starter Johnny Cueto was forced to exit after 3 2/3 scoreless innings due to a strained right lat muscle.

"He threw a couple pitches, one 94 (mph) to [Alfonso] Soriano and a great slider, but I looked at Ramon and Ramon shook his head," said Baker. "That was the sign."

Chicago starter Casey Coleman remained winless for almost four months after allowing six runs on six hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings.

"He just didn't make enough quality pitches tonight," said Cubs manager Mike Quade. "At this point you just gotta keep working with him and hope he gets better."

Carlos Pena had an RBI double for the Cubs, who had won six of eight before suffering back-to-back losses.

The Reds, who lead this season series 10-7, go for the victory tonight behind Homer Bailey, with the righty coming off one of his best outings of the season.

Bailey avoided a third straight loss on Friday in Colorado with a 4-1 win, hurling 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball. The 25-year-old allowed six hits and a walk while striking out six.

Bailey had lasted only three innings in his previous outing, but improved to 8-7 with a 4.34 ERA on the season.

He is 2-2 with a 6.92 ERA lifetime versus the Cubs, but beat them in his only meeting against them this year back on May 16.