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CHC@STL: Samardzija allows one run over seven frames

Returning to Wrigley Field after a road trip might normally be viewed as a haven of sorts for the Cubs. For this upcoming three-game series against the Reds? Maybe not so much.

To say that the Reds have dominated the Cubs, especially in Wrigleyville, doesn't give enough credit to the word "dominate."

Cincinnati won 14 of 19 from Chicago in 2013, including 13 of the last 17 games. Going back to 2012, the Reds have taken 23 of the last 29 meetings.

At Wrigley, the Reds have won 15 of the last 16 from the Cubs. A 12-game win streak was snapped on June 13, ending the most consecutive wins by an opponent in the ballpark's 100-year history.

The Reds, who have also won the last four season series from the Cubs, are beginning a 10-game road trip through Chicago, Pittsburgh and Atlanta with a little momentum. They have won three of their last four games and have scored 30 runs in that stretch -- which included taking two of three in a home series with the Pirates that ended on Wednesday.

"We got our first series win, which is pretty nice," Reds third baseman Todd Frazier said. "Let's build off of that. Everybody is starting to come together."

Cubs: Offense looking to regain footing
After being shut out by the Yankees in both games of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader, Cubs manager Rick Renteria just wants his ballclub to relax and regain its confidence.

"We could use a nice outing from Jeff [Samardzija] to stop this roll a little bit, but the reality is that we have to grind out good at bats and get some timely hitting," Renteria said. "I know they are all clichés, but we need to drive in some runs. It's just a matter of staying within ourselves and not trying to do too much. Hopefully, we can get that started at home."

Reds: Simon says starting is good
With Mat Latos suffering a setback of right elbow soreness, Alfredo Simon's temporary stay in the rotation has been extended and he will start Friday opposite Samardzija. Simon, a reliever for the Reds the past two seasons, has delivered two excellent starts in Latos' place with two earned runs and nine hits allowed over 15 innings, with two walks and 10 strikeouts.

Simon, who made 16 starts previously for the Orioles, tied a career high with eight innings Saturday, but came up a hard-luck 1-0 loser to the Rays.

"I'm feeling really comfortable right now," Simon said Wednesday. "I just have to do the same thing I've done the last two games. I will do my best and go out there and try to impress them and show that I can be a starter."

Worth noting
• Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton stole two bases Wednesday. It was his second two-steal day of the season and fourth of his career.

• Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto has hit home runs in three of his last four games.

• The Cubs adjusted their rotation for the final two games of the series. Edwin Jackson is now pitching Saturday vs. Tony Cingrani, while the original starter for that day, Carlos Villanueva, will work Sunday's finale against Homer Bailey.

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