Villanueva seeks another strong start vs. Reds

Dominican right-hander Carlos Villanueva gets a second shot at a 2013 gem against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday when the Chicago Cubs host them to begin a three-game series at Wrigley Field.

The 29-year-old tossed 8 1/3 innings of two-run ball against the Reds on April 23 in Cincinnati, but got a no-decision in the Cubs' 4-2 victory.

His one start since resulted in his lone loss of 2013, after he was touched for four runs on four hits in six innings of a 6-4 decision to the Marlins in Miami.

Prior to this season, Villanueva's role had veered between starting and relief. He was 33-35 in 301 appearances with Milwaukee and Toronto, though only 56 were starts.

Villanueva is 2-2 in 21 appearances against the Reds.

For Cincinnati, former first-round pick Mike Leake tries to avoid a third straight start without a victory.

He was an 11-2 winner over Philadelphia on April 17, but has since gotten a no-decision against the Cubs and a loss at Washington in two outings.

Against Chicago, he allowed two runs in seven innings in a game the Reds won, 5-4.

Leake is 4-2 in his career against the Cubs and 1-2 in six starts at Wrigley.

On Thursday in Chicago, Everth Cabrera's go-ahead RBI single was part of a four-run eighth that lifted the San Diego Padres to a 4-2 win over the Cubs in the finale of a four-game set.

Travis Wood (2-2) allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in 7 2/3 frames for Chicago, which has alternated wins and losses over its last six tilts.

Scott Hairston smacked a two-run homer in defeat.

On Wednesday in St. Louis, Matt Carpenter went 3-for-4 with two doubles and sparked a three-run sixth inning to lead the Cardinals to a 4-2 win over the Reds to take two of three from their division rivals at Busch Stadium.

Brandon Phillips knocked in both Cincinnati runs, including a solo homer off Mujica to lead off the ninth.

Homer Bailey (1-3) tossed 5 1/3 innings, surrendering all four Cardinals runs on nine hits.

"These guys are just my Achilles heel right now," said Bailey. "They're a good hitting team and they have my number right now. ... I made some good pitches, they just found the holes."

The Reds won two of three in a series in April and 12 of 16 games between the teams in 2012.