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Associated Press
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is checked by Zack Cozart and Brayan Pena after Phillips sprained his wrist; X-rays were negative.

12th win for Simon as Reds stay hot

– 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 today.

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.”

“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-turned-starter gave up four hits in 6 2/3 innings, including Anthony Rizzo’s third homer in four games.

Hamilton tripled home a run and scored during a three-run fifth against Beeler. Cubs manager Rick Renteria was ejected during the inning for arguing a foul ball call with third base umpire Andy Fletcher.

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