Rookie lefty Chris Rusin makes his fifth major-league start Wednesday when the Chicago Cubs continue a three-game series with game two against the Cincinnati Reds at home at Wrigley Field.
The 25-year-old Detroit native debuted for the Cubs on Aug. 21 in Milwaukee and was a 5-2 loser after five solid innings of one-hit, one-run ball.
He returned on Sept. 4 and fell to 0-2, this time lasting just one inning and allowing five runs on eight hits while walking one batter and striking out another in an 11-5 loss at Washington.
His last two starts have again been more successful, resulting in a no- decision and his lone big-league win while Rusin combined to surrender just three runs on nine hits in 10 innings in two meetings with Pittsburgh.
The win came in his first start at Wrigley on Sept. 14.
In 16 composite innings, Rusin has allowed a .286 batting average.
For the Reds, right-hander Mike Leake faces the Cubs for the 10th time in his 82nd career big-league appearance.
The pitcher last faced Chicago on Aug. 9 at Wrigley and emerged with a no- decision after he gave up three runs on six hits in six innings of the Reds' 5-3 loss.
Leake has been largely successful since, winning four of six starts to get to eight wins on the season for the third consecutive year.
Leake was 8-4 in 24 appearances as a rookie in 2010 and improved to 12-9 in 29 games last season.
He topped Pittsburgh, 5-3, in his most recent start on Sept. 11.
On Tuesday, Homer Bailey tossed 7 1/3 effective innings as the Reds topped the Cubs, 3-1.
Bailey (12-9) allowed just a run on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks to remain undefeated against the Cubs this season. Sean Marshall finished off the eighth inning and Jonathan Broxton picked up his third save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
"I always liked pitching on the road," Bailey said. "I always liked the traveling and being away I guess."
Ryan Hanigan provided all the offense with a bases-clearing double for the National League Central Division-leading Reds, who have won five of their last seven games.
Bryan LaHair ripped a pinch-hit RBI double for the Cubs, who have dropped three of their last four. Justin Germano (2-8) absorbed the loss after giving up three runs on three hits and five walks over five-plus frames.
The Reds won nine of the first 13 games between the teams in 2012, including three of four in a series from Aug. 17-19 in Cincinnati.