Rapid Reaction: Reds 3, Cubs 0

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs dropped their fourth consecutive series, this one after a 3-0 defeat Sunday to the Cincinnati Reds.

How it happened: Cubs rookie Brooks Raley did his best to go toe-to-toe against one of the NL’s best starters. He retired the first 13 batters of the game and wound up allowing three runs over six innings. He was ultimately no match for the Reds’ Johnny Cueto, though, who fired eight scoreless innings while managing to lower his NL-leading daytime ERA that was at 1.72 when the game began.

What it means: Raley looked much more comfortable in his second career start and first at home. He was much better than last week when he gave up seven runs on eight hits in four innings to the Padres. Not that the Cubs have a whole lot of other options, but even if they did, Raley seems to have done enough to get another chance. His next start is expected to be against the Reds again next weekend in one of the games of a day-night doubleheader.

Outside the box: There was no rest for the weary as Cubs reliever Shawn Camp made his NL-leading 58th appearance. Camp was given the day off Saturday to catch his breath, but he still pitched in three of the four games in the series. Camp has had a rough August, entering play Sunday with a 19.64 ERA this month, but after a scoreless inning Sunday he has given up just one run over his last three outings.

Off beat: Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena not only batted in succession in the Cubs’ lineup, they all wore their socks high on Sunday with pants that only came to below the knees. They might want to rethink the look. The trio was fine on defense but at the plate they went hitless.

Up next: The Cubs will send right-hander Jeff Samardzija (7-10, 4.21 ERA) to the mound Monday against the Houston Astros in the opener of a three-game series. Houston will counter with right-hander Armando Galarraga (0-2, 4.70) in the 7:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.