The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Illinois

April 19, 2014

Cubs drop fifth straight

CHICAGO — Jeff Samardzija has had a hard time finding run support this season. The same could be said for all Chicago Cubs’ pitchers.

First, the good news: Chicago managed to break a 24-inning scoreless streak.

And then, the usual dose of bad news: Alfredo Simon lowered his ERA to 0.86, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Cubs 4-1 Friday for their 16th win in their past 17 games at Wrigley Field.

“You go out and pitch and do your job. You control what you can control. There’s plenty of times when it goes the other way,” Samardzija said.

Samardzija (0-2) gave up three runs — one earned — and six hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and two walks.

He is 0-4 despite a 3.86 ERA in 10 starts since winning at San Diego on Aug. 24.

Chicago, last in the NL Central at 4-11, has given Samardzija just four runs of support while’s been in the game during four starts this year.

“This game has a funny way of evening out,” he said.

Making his third start, Alfredo Simon (2-1) allowed an unearned run in six-plus innings and sent the Cubs to their fifth straight loss.

Simon, in the rotation while Mat Latos recovers from elbow and knee injuries, had made 99 relief appearances for the Reds before getting a chance to start this year.

“I know that he was a waiver-claim guy for us ... but he has been remarkable,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He’s wanted more opportunity. We’ve given that to him.”

Jonathan Broxton pitched a hitless ninth for his second save in two tries, completing a six-hitter for the Reds, who stretched their winning streak to a season-best three.

Chicago entered with the second-lowest batting average in the NL. The Cubs are last in slugging percentage and first in runners left on base.

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