Reds go for sweep of Cubs behind Arroyo

Right-hander Bronson Arroyo can keep the Cincinnati Reds in the thick of the playoff chase on Wednesday afternoon when they head back to Wrigley Field to close out a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs.

Cincinnati is third in the National League Central, 3 1/2 games behind front- running Pittsburgh and just 1 1/2 behind second-place St. Louis.

The 36-year-old Arroyo is making his 30th career appearance against the Cubs in his 347th big-league start. He's won 12 of 21 decisions against Chicago while posting a 3.04 earned run average across 177 2/3 innings.

Arroyo has won three of his last five starts to reach double-digit victories for the sixth time in eight seasons with the Reds since he was acquired from Boston for outfielder Wily Mo Pena.

He tossed seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball in downing San Diego, 7-2, in his last start on Aug. 9 in Cincinnati.

Arroyo's last matchup with the Cubs came May 24 in Cincinnati and he emerged a 7-4 winner after going six innings and allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

He's made 14 career appearances at Wrigley and is 7-3 there with a 3.06 ERA.

Arroyo is opposed by young lefty Chris Rusin, who starts for the sixth time this season and the 13th time in his career.

He faced the Reds once last season - on Sept. 19 in Cincinnati - and was shelled for 10 hits and five runs in five innings of a game the Cubs ultimately lost, 6-5.

Chicago is 3-2 in the five starts he's made this season, including a 3-0 win at St. Louis on Aug. 9 in which he tossed six scoreless innings with five strikeouts.

In his lone home start of 2013, Rusin was beaten, 6-4, by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On Tuesday, Shin-Soo Choo's two-run single in the 11th inning pushed the Reds past the Cubs, 6-4.

Brandon Phillips filled the box score with three hits, a run scored, an RBI and two steals for the Reds, who have won six of their last seven games and improved to 12-3 against their division rivals this year.

The Cubs came into the game having been shut out in three straight games at home for the first time since 1924, but showed some punch behind home runs from Nate Schierholtz, Dioner Navarro and Donnie Murphy.

J.J. Hoover, however, held Chicago scoreless over 2 1/3 innings of relief to pick up the win. Hoover (3-5) has not allowed a run in his last 24 1/3 innings, a span of 21 consecutive appearances.

Eduardo Sanchez (0-1) took the loss.