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Wood tries to lift Cubs in opener against Reds

Travis Wood gets another shot at facing his old team when he takes the hill for the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a four-game set with the National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds took three of four from the Cubs in Chicago last week but Wood did his part on Saturday, albeit in a Cubs setback. The left-hander, who spent his first two big league seasons with Cincinnati before being traded in December, held the Reds to one run on five hits with a career-high eight strikeouts over seven innings but Cincinnati rallied for a 4-2 win.

"That was as impressive an outing as he's had all year," manager Dale Sveum told the Cubs' official website.

Veteran Bronson Arroyo opposed Wood in that one and will do so again on Friday. The right-hander allowed just two runs on five hits in eight innings to earn the win in his matchup with Wood last week.

The Red come into this series on the heels of taking two of three from the New York Mets. They did, however, drop the series finale, 8-4, when rookie Matt Harvey pitched 7 2/3 stellar innings and added a two-run double, as the Mets avoided the sweep.

Homer Bailey (10-8) took the loss for Cincinnati, allowing six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.

Jay Bruce had a seventh-inning RBI double and Ryan Ludwick homered during a three-run ninth for the Reds, who saw their five-game win streak come to an end. They still lead the NL Central by six games over Pittsburgh.

"Physically I feel great. I have no excuses. I'm just not making pitches as consistently as I need to," said Bailey.

The Cubs, meanwhile, won two of three over Houston, including Wednesday's rubber match. David DeJesus belted a pair home runs among his four hits in that one as Chicago earned a 7-2 victory.

DeJesus finished with three RBI, while Starlin Castro added three hits, including a two-run shot, to help the Cubs wrap up a seven-game homestand at 3-4. Justin Germano (2-2) allowed two runs on five hits and one walk over 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts to earn the victory.

The Reds are 6-3 versus Chicago so far this season.