CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cubs got to take a look at their future Wednesday night, starting a pair of newcomers. The result was just like the recent past.
The losing goes on.
Alfredo Simon became the NL's first 12-game winner and Billy Hamilton added to his sensational series with a tiebreaking triple, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over the trade-depleted Cubs.
The Reds won their fifth in a row — matching their season high — and moved a season-best seven games over .500. After winning the first four games of the series, they'll try for their first five-game sweep since 1976 on Thursday.
It's been a tough week for the Cubs, who have lost all six games — their deepest slump of the season — since they dealt starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for a package of prospects.
Dallas Beeler (0-2) and several others will get a chance to move up from the minors and fill their spots. The 25-year-old pitcher gave up four runs, six hits and four walks in five innings while losing his second start in the majors.
For the new guys, it was quite a night getting a chance to play in the majors.
"It's a whole bunch of fun," said Beeler, who gave up six hits, four walks and four runs in five innings. "The results weren't what I wanted, but I had a great time pitching."
The Cubs also called up second baseman Arismendy Alcantara for a couple of days. The 22-year-old infielder batted second and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. He'll return to Triple-A Iowa when second baseman Darwin Barney returns from paternity leave.
"So far, I feel comfortable in the field and at home plate, too," Alcantara said.
For the rest of the Cubs, it was a familiar feeling.
Simon (12-3), left off the All-Star team, became the first Reds pitcher to win a dozen games before the break since Edinson Volquez also went 12-3 in the first half of 2008. The reliever-turner-starter gave up four hits in 6 2-3 innings, including Anthony Rizzo's third homer in four games.
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