CINCINNATI (AP) — Bronson Arroyo's back is giving him problems again, a bad sign for the Cincinnati Reds.
Arroyo gave up solo homers by Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart on Wednesday night, and the Chicago Cubs held on for a 3-1 victory that left Cincinnati with a concern about its rotation.
Arroyo (1-1) has pitched well so far this season, a function of being much healthier. He came down with mononucleosis during spring training last year and later developed a sore lower back, factors in the right-hander giving up a club-record 46 homers.
He gave up only two homers in his first four games, a sign of how things had changed. Now, his back is a concern again.
"Today, it felt pretty good, but it has been bugging me," Arroyo said. "I went the entire offseason trying to keep it healthy, but then it started to tighten up on me during the St. Louis start (on April 19). It was really bad two starts ago, and a little better the last time.
"It's something we're trying to keep in check, but it's hard, because you don't know what's causing it."
The Cubs hit only nine homers in April, the fewest in the majors. It was only their third multihomer game of the season.
Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija (3-1) didn't have any problems on a humid, 87-degree evening that was to his liking. He allowed only three over 7 2-3 innings, his fastball still regularly hitting 96 mph in his final inning.
Samardzija spent most of his first four seasons in the Cubs bullpen. He won a spot in the rotation during spring training and has pitched well enough to keep it.
Samardzija contained Jay Bruce, holding the NL's player of the week to a harmless double. Carlos Marmol retired all three batters in the ninth for his second save in four chances, finishing off the combined three-hitter.
The Cubs have had only six save opportunities this season, underscoring their early struggles.
It was the second straight impressive start for Samardzija, who struck out a career-high nine Cardinals in 6 2-3 innings on May 24. He's made 10 career starts in the majors.
"He usually doesn't have that command or control," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He was throwing 95-98 at the start and he was still at 95-96 when he left. Tonight wasn't us, it was him."