Cincinnati ace Mat Latos can extend his unbeaten streak to five starts on Monday night when the Reds visit Wrigley Field to open a three- game series with the Chicago Cubs.
In his second full season with the Reds after coming over in a trade with San Diego, Latos is 3-0 in his last four starts since dropping a 6-5 verdict at Atlanta on July 11.
He returned from the All-Star break with a 5-4 defeat of Pittsburgh and a 5-2 downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers, then got a no-decision at San Diego before a defeat of Oakland in his most recent start on Aug. 6.
In that game, Latos tossed 7 1/3 innings of scoreless four-hit ball in a 3-1 Cincinnati victory.
He's 4-2 lifetime against the Cubs, whom he last faced on June 13 in a game Chicago won, 6-5, after Latos allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings.
He's opposed by lefty Travis Wood, who makes his sixth attempt for a first defeat of the team that drafted him in 2005.
Wood won 11 times in 39 appearances with the Reds through the end of 2011 before heading to Chicago in a trade that sent reliever Sean Marshall to Cincinnati.
He was 6-13 in 26 starts with the Cubs last season and was 7-7 this year after defeating San Francisco, 2-1, on July 28 with seven innings of one-run ball.
He's 0-1 in two subsequent starts, in which he's allowed seven runs in 13 hits in 9 2/3 innings.
In five starts against the Reds, Wood is 0-3 with a 4.65 earned run average, far above his career ERA of 3.88.
On Sunday in Cincinnati, Joey Votto, who went 0-for-4 to end an eight-game hitting streak, delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 13th inning to send the Reds to their fourth win in five games, a 3-2 decision over San Diego.
Xavier Paul hit his third pinch-hit home run this season and seventh home run overall for Cincinnati.
In St. Louis, Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday combined for nine hits and five runs batted in to lead the Cardinals to an 8-4 win against the Cubs to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Cubs' Edwin Jackson escaped with a no-decision despite giving up four runs in five innings. Blake Parker (1-2) took the loss after giving up a run in the sixth, as the Cubs lost for the 10th time in 14 games.
The Reds won 10 of the initial 13 games with the Cubs this season, including three of four at Wrigley between June 10-13.