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Efficient Leake makes quick work of Cubs, 2-1

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Right hander Mike Leake worked fast, was consistent and ended up strong as he paced the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday afternoon.

Leake improved to 6-3 after eight innings of three-hit ball as the Reds extended a winning streak to three and set up prospects for a four-game sweep in Thursday's finale.

"He finished strong," said Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker. "We've been trying to get him to this point of finishing his own games ... and how to make pitches late in the game that aren't going to cost you. He gave us every bit he had."

The win, wrapped up in a brisk 2 hours 28 minutes, also extended the Reds' Wrigley Field consecutive-game winning streak to 12 games, a visiting team record at the 99-year-old park.

"We're relaxed when we play here, we like playing here," said third baseman Todd Frazier, who homered for the second straight day. "Who doesn't like playing at Wrigley Field. I think every little kid and every older man would love to play here. It's really cool."

Frazier, who went seven weeks without a home run until Tuesday, clubbed a game-winning solo shot to lead off the seventh.

Brandon Phillips had an RBI double in the sixth, driving home Shin-Soo Choo to tie the score at 1.

"He came through with a big, big two-out hit," Baker said. "We've had enough against us and so we know how it feels and it got us on the board.

Leake worked eight innings for the first time this season. He allowed one earned run and three hits, walked one and struck out six. He retired 12 batters in a row after a fourth inning single to Ryan Sweeney.

"In the first couple of innings I was leaving the ball up in the zone slightly and I was able to start getting the ball down and it worked in my favor," Leake said. "(I was) just mixing and matching and keeping them guessing."

Cubs starter Travis Wood (5-5) pitched seven innings and allowed two earned runs and seven hits. The Chicago left-hander also struck out four and walked two.

"It's a broken record, Woody just pitched another great game and got nothing to show for it," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It's getting frustrating, starting pitchers pitching into the seventh inning, quality starts and we're not having quality at-bats on a regular basis."

Wood said he would have love to beat Leake, a friend off the field.

"(Leake) ended up going an inning longer and he basically threw better today, kept us off balance and threw a better game," Wood said.

Chicago has lost three straight and eight of its last 10. Cincinnati has won four of its last five and is 5-5 in its last 10 games.

The Cubs jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on Nate Schierholtz's eighth home run of the season. The homer to right field came on Leake's 1-0 pitch with one out.

Chicago nearly had another as Welington Castillo sent a two-out pitch to the wall in right field before Jay Bruce hauled it in.

Wood pitched 4 2/3 innings of no-hit ball before Cesar Izturis reached base on an infield single in the fifth.

Reds left-handed reliever Aroldis Chapman worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

Cincinnati sends right-hander Mat Latos (6-0) against Cubs righty Jeff Samardzija (3-7) to wrap up the four-game series on Thursday.

NOTES: The Cubs made several personnel moves in a 12-hour span. Late Tuesday, they announced that they acquired RHP Henry Rodriguez from the Washington Nationals for minor league RHP Ian Dickson. Rodriguez, a 26-year-old Venezuelan, went 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA in 17 relief appearances with Washington. Dickson was 2-2 with Class A Kane County. The Cubs also optioned RHP Eduardo Sanchez for reassignment. ... On Wednesday, the Cubs placed RHP Zach Putnam on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness and recalled LHP Brooks Raley from Triple-A Iowa. He joined the Cubs in August 2012 and went 1-2 with an 8.14 ERA in five starts. ... Third baseman Cody Ransom had Wednesday off as Cubs manager Dale Sveum went with a predominately left-handed lineup. Ransom has four home runs and eight RBI in his last six games. ... Wood entered with 11 quality starts, tied for second most in the National League and third most in the majors. ... After a 1-8 start, the Reds are 18-15 on the road, having won 17 of 24 road games. ... After moving ahead of Ralph Houk for 16th on the career list of managerial victories (1,621) on Tuesday, Dusty Baker's next target is No. 15. Jim Leyland, who has 1,711. Baker is closer to a move on the Reds' list. He has 458 wins, good for fourth place behind Jack Hendricks (469).
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