Frazier's 480-foot bomb gives Reds 1-0 win over Cubs

Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Reds right-hander Mat Latos is a creature of habit when it comes to his pregame preparation before a start. So, when the first pitch of Wednesday afternoon's game was delayed one hour and 29 minutes due to rain, Latos became frustrated.
"I went through my normal pregame routine, then got shut down in the middle of it," Latos said. "It was definitely aggravating. I was (upset) for about an hour."
When Latos finally took the mound at Great American Ball Park, he made do without his best breaking stuff, relying mostly on well-located fastballs to pitch seven shutout innings in 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier provided all the offense with his sixth home run, a 480-foot blast to centerfield in the sixth off Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija.
Wednesday's rain delay culminated a series during which the Reds and Cubs played a pair of extra-inning games, including one 13-inning contest.
Cincinnati went 8-2 on its 10-game homestand. "We're not counting," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "We just have to keep rolling."
It was yet another frustrating loss for the Cubs who've now lost 17 games decided by three runs or less.
"We rallied from a poorly played series to a well-played series," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "Our starting pitchers and even our bullpen held the best hitting team in the National League to a couple runs a game."
Latos (1-0) walked one and struck out four. "I just had to focus on hitting my spots with my fastball," he said. "I just tried to minimize damage. That's pretty much it."
Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Samardzija (1-4) allowed one run and seven hits in six innings. He remained winless in four starts since tossing eight shutout innings on Opening Day.
Samardzija received a cut on his finger trying to bare-hand Shin-Soo Choo's grounder in the first inning. "Obviously it didn't affect him, he pitched great," Sveum said.
Following the rain delay, Latos retired the first 10 batters he faced, three by strikeout.
Julio Borbon's double to center with one out in the fourth was the Cubs' first hit. But he was left stranded when Choo made a leaping grab of Anthony Rizzo's deep drive against the center-field wall.
Borbon was the only Cubs baserunner through five innings.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, scattered five hits against Samardzija through three innings.
Devin Mesoraco and Latos began the third with singles. But Samardzija struck out three straight batters to end the inning.
That was the only legitimate scoring chance the Reds had against Samardzija. But Frazier took matters into his own hands in the sixth.
On a 2-1 pitch from Samardzija, Frazier launched a solo homer off the Batter's Eye Pavilion in center field, putting the Reds ahead 1-0.
"I haven't seen many fastballs lately," Frazier said. "When you get your pitch you have to take advantage of it."
The Cubs couldn't take advantage of the few scoring chances they had against Latos.
Starlin Castro led off the seventh with a single, but was caught stealing by Mesoraco.
Latos began to run out of steam in the eighth. He walked Dioner Navarro to begin the inning.
Luis Valbuena reached on an infield single, ending Latos' outing after 103 pitches.
Jonathan Broxton, making his first appearance since being struck on the hand by a line drive in Monday's game, replaced Latos.
"I put him in a tough spot," said Latos, who was sitting in the dugout to witness Zack Cozart's game-saving defensive play moments later.
With two outs and runners on second and third, David DeJesus hit a hard grounder up the middle. The Reds shortstop ranged far to his left to field the ball, then threw to first just ahead of DeJesus, preventing the tying and go-ahead runs from scoring.
"I went a long ways to get the ball," Cozart said. "I was shocked DeJesus wasn't closer to the bag because he can run pretty well. Personally, I've been struggling at the plate. So when I make plays like that it feels pretty good."
NOTES: Frazier's home run in the sixth traveled an estimated 480 feet, making it the seventh-longest home run in Great American Ball Park history. ... Choo now has reached base in all 21 appearances this season. ... The Cubs went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They entered the game batting .146 with RISP, worst in the majors. ... It was the second 1-0 victory this season for the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

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