The Cincinnati Reds will continue their nine-game homestand tonight versus the NL Central-rival Chicago Cubs in the opener of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds just took two of three meetings with division-foe Houston and recorded a 6-5 win Sunday in the series finale. Jay Bruce hit a tie-breaking home run leading off the bottom of the eighth inning and Joey Votto collected two hits, including a home run, and four RBI for the Reds, who have won seven of their last 10 games.
"It's always good when you can come through for your team like that," said Bruce, who homered in his fourth straight game. "Obviously, I wasn't the only part of that comeback."
Zack Cozart had two hits, an RBI and a run scored in the win. Mat Latos started for Cincinnati and did not record a decision after he allowed five runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. Logan Ondrusek earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief and Sean Marshall nailed down his fifth save in the ninth inning.
The Reds, who are three games behind St. Louis for the NL Central lead, will hand the ball to Bronson Arroyo on Tuesday and he is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four starts this season. He did not figure into the decision of a 4-2 win over San Francisco on Wednesday, as he held the Giants to a pair of runs, one of which was earned, on nine hits in five innings.
Arroyo had a season low in strikeouts with two and was able to lower his ERA in the process. The right-hander has walked only two batters this season, spanning 26 2/3 innings of work. Arroyo has faced the rival Cubs plenty of times in his career and is 9-8 with a 2.91 ERA in 25 games (23 starts).
The Cubs split a four-game set in Philadelphia and dropped a 6-4 decision in last night's series finale.
After trailing 4-0 in the first inning, the Cubs rallied to tie the game with a three-run eighth inning. Starlin Castro had an RBI single and Bryan LaHair clubbed a two-run homer to even the score. Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco then put the hosts ahead for good with a two-run double in the home portion of the eighth inning.
Chris Volstad started for Chicago and settled down after a rough first inning in which the Phillies put up a four-spot. He lasted six innings and gave up eight hits with four K's and three walks.
"I was happy with my last five innings," Volstad said. "I felt like I put the team in a hole in the first (inning), then kept us in the game."
Chicago has alternated wins and losses in its last six games.
After giving up five runs in each of his previous two starts, Cubs hurler Jeff Samardzija was able to get on track the last time out despite not factoring in the outcome of a 3-2 win over St. Louis. Samardzija will get the nod tonight for the Cubs against Cincinnati.
The right-hander threw 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Cardinals and struck out a season-best nine batters. Samardzija, who is 2-1 with a 4.12 ERA in four starts, owns a 1-1 mark in two road starts so far. He has made 14 career appearances -- all in relief -- against Cincinnati and owns no record to go along with a 5.65 ERA through 14 1/3 frames.
The Cubs recently lost two of three meetings with Cincinnati from April 20-22 and have dropped five of the past six matchups in this series.