How it happened: The Reds got to Jeff Samardzija early and often as he lasted only 5 2/3 innings while giving up all six runs. A single and double by Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce to open the second inning led to two runs while two innings later a Devin Mesoraco long ball extended the Reds' lead to 3-0. The big blow came in the sixth after Starlin Castro went deep into the hole at shortstop to nearly get Mesoraco at first base with two outs. A couple pitches later -- Samardzija’s 110th on the day -- pinch-hitter Jack Hannahan hit a three-run home run to put the game away. Samardizja walked the next hitter on four pitches and his day was done. Mike Leake was effective for the Reds as he navigated through 5 2/3 innings while giving up four hits and four walks and the Cubs failed to get the big hit against him or the Reds bullpen.
What it means: The Cubs took two out of three from the Reds but had little chance for the sweep with Samardzija’s performance. He simply didn’t keep his team in the game, especially with the Cubs struggling on offense on Wednesday. In fact, Samardzija is getting worse as the season winds down. Is his arm tiring? It’s a legitimate question as his fastball command isn’t sharp and his cutter is getting hit hard. He might get to 200 innings, but that doesn’t mean it will be an effective finish -- or season for that matter. He’s made it way too easy on the opposition too often this year.