That was fitting as far as Mat Latos is concerned, because the
right-hander still is in the April of his season.
Latos tossed seven strong innings in just his third start of the
season, Jay Bruce went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI and
the Cincinnati Reds stayed hot with a 4-1 victory over the Chicago
Despite topping out at 92 mph (he has reached 97 in the past), Latos
(1-0) allowed just one run on five hits in seven innings. He struck
out five and didn't walk a batter in lowering his ERA to 2.89.
"Midseason form, I'm a ways off from that," he said. "I'm healthy.
That's the main thing. I know what I need to do. My stuff's good
enough, when it's on, I can help the ballclub out."
Latos began the season on the disabled list following offseason
elbow and knee surgeries.
"I wanted to be 100 percent," he said of his return. "I didn't want
to be (in) midseason form because it's not gonna happen. Yes, it is
midseason, but midseason form, hopefully that comes around toward
September in August when I can really pick it up."
The Reds, though, are rounding into midseason form. They took the
rubber game of the three-game series and won for the fourth time in
Cincinnati has had better offensive nights during the streak, but
broke the game open with a three-run sixth inning.
"The part of it that's more important than anything is that we're
consistently starting to see some production offensively where in
the days where we're not scoring six or seven runs, we're finding a
way to push across that extra run to keep creating that distance and
not have to play as many of these one-run squeakers that we're
playing those first two months of the season," manager Bryan Price
Shortstop Starlin Castro went 2-for-4 and drove in the only Chicago
Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson (5-8) surrendered four runs in 5 1/3
"It's a tough lineup," Jackson said. "They're going to make you
"I thought, for the most part, I was able to contain them until the
sixth inning. They kind of busted it open a little bit."
The Reds quickly grabbed a 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Third
baseman Todd Frazier singled with one out, advanced to second when
first baseman Joey Votto walked and then scored one out later on a
double by Bruce.
Any hopes for a big inning, though, were dashed when Votto was
thrown out at the plate on Bruce's hit. Right fielder Nate
Schierholtz tracked down the ball and fed second baseman Darwin
Barney, who fired a strike to catcher John Baker to nail Votto.
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Schierholtz had a hand in preserving a run in the first and then
scored the tying run in the bottom of the fourth. He led off with a
double, advanced to third on a ground out by first baseman Anthony
Rizzo and walked home when Castro singled up the middle against a
The Reds broke through for three runs in the sixth. Frazier led off
with a walk and scored on a double by Votto. Catcher Devin Mesoraco
then singled to put runners at the corners. Bruce followed with a
double off the glove of third baseman Luis Valbuena to score Votto
and make it 3-1.
Jackson exited after striking out left fielder Chris Heisey for the
first out. Cincinnati took a 4-1 lead when second baseman Skip
Schumaker (2-for-3) laid down a perfect squeeze bunt against
left-hander James Russell to plate Mesoraco.
Mesoraco finished 1-for-4, and his string of hitting home runs in
five consecutive games ended.
Latos, who threw 106 pitches, was never in serious trouble and the
only battle he lost was with his manager.
"I tried to go eight (innings), tried to ask him for eight and help
the bullpen as much as I could, but he wouldn't give it to me," he
said of Price.
"But all in all, I had really good command of the two-seamer, really
god command of the cut fastball, the slider and the changeup.
Really, all of them."
NOTES: Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was scratched from the lineup after
batting practice. He missed his third straight game with a bone
bruise on his right heel. Manager Bryan Price was concerned about
Phillips being able to play a full nine innings and possibly making
the injury worse. ... The Cubs announced that RHP Dallas Beeler, 25,
would be promoted from Triple-A Iowa to start the first game of
Saturday's day-night doubleheader against the Washington Nationals
in his major league debut. For doubleheaders, teams are allowed to
bring up a 26th player without having to send someone down. Beeler
is 5-3 with a 4.03 ERA in 10 starts for Iowa. ... The doubleheader
is a rare scheduled twin-bill because of Chicago's gay pride parade,
which will pass just a few blocks from Wrigley Field on Sunday.
Normally, the Cubs are on the road when the parade is held. This
year, they have a rare Sunday off.
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