CHICAGO (AP) — This time, the Chicago Cubs were shut down by Mat Latos.
Starlin Castro had an RBI single for Chicago’s only run in a 4-1 loss to Latos and the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
The Cubs began the day with a .232 team batting average, which was next to last in the National League. They managed just six hits in the series finale against Cincinnati.
“The story for us has been that we’re not scoring enough runs for the starting pitchers and for this bullpen,” catcher John Baker said. “It’s frustrating for us position players.”
It’s also frustrating for first-year manager Rick Renteria.
“They’re all chipping away at their approaches, but we’re facing some pretty good chuckers too,” he said. “We just obviously weren’t able to generate a whole lot of runs.”
Edwin Jackson (5-8) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings for Chicago, which has dropped four of five. Starlin Castro had two hits and drove in a run.
“It’s a tough lineup. They’re going to make you work,” Jackson said. “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.”
With the wind blowing in on a cold summer night, Devin Mesoraco’s five-game homer streak came to an end. The Reds catcher was tied with Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Johnny Bench, George Crowe and Ted Kluszewski for the franchise record.
Latos (1-0) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings in his third start after beginning the season on the disabled list. It was his first win since Sept. 2 against St. Louis.
Latos was coming off a frustrating no-decision against Toronto, when he was staked to an 8-0 lead and was unable to hold on. He gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings as the Blue Jays rallied for a 14-9 victory Friday night.
The Cubs fell to 12-31 against Cincinnati over the last three seasons.
Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect eighth and Aroldis Chapman finished for his 14th save in 15 chances.
Pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano doubled off the front of the basket in right field with two outs in the ninth. The call was upheld after Renteria called for a review, and Chapman struck out pinch-hitter Mike Olt to end the game.
Cincinnati went ahead to stay with three runs in the sixth. Todd Frazier scored from first on Joey Votto’s opposite-field double to left. After Mesoraco’s single, Jay Bruce lined a double off third baseman Luis Valbuena’s glove to drive in Votto.
Jackson struck out Chris Heisey before James Russell came in, and Skip Schumaker executed a perfect suicide squeeze to give the Reds a 4-1 lead.
“It was the first one in my life. College, big leagues, you name it,” said Schumaker, who also had two doubles in the game. “I saw the sign. It worked out.”
Bruce put the Reds in front with a two-out double down the right-field line in the first, scoring Frazier from second. Votto tried to hustle home from first but was cut down at the plate on Darwin Barney’s relay throw.
The Cubs tied it in the fourth. Ryan Sweeney reached on a leadoff double, advanced on Anthony Rizzo’s groundout and scored on Castro’s base hit.
NOTES: Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was out of the lineup for the third straight game with a bruised right heel. ... RHP Dallas Beeler will make his major league debut in Game 1 of Chicago’s day-night doubleheader Saturday against Washington. The 25-year-old Beeler is 5-3 with Triple-A Iowa. ... Mesoraco was picked off first base after originally called safe by umpire Trip Gibson in the fourth inning. The call was overturned by replay review.