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Samardzija's winless streak continues, Cubs fall to Reds 3-2 after 3 rain delays

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CINCINNATI - Something different seems to prevent Jeff Samardzija from getting a win. This time, it was a lot of rain.

Billy Hamilton hit his first career homer and Chris Heisey singled home the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning, sending the Cincinnati Reds over the Chicago Cubs 3-2 Tuesday night in a game delayed three times.

The game started 19 minutes late. There was a 15-minute delay in the top of the fifth and a 1-hour, 11-minute delay in the bottom of the sixth. The stop-and-start pace took a toll on Samardzija (0-3), who has gone 12 starts without a victory.

"Just up-and-down, up-and-down," he said, referring to the delays. "It kind of played a little bit into my wildness. Too many walks."

Hamilton's solo homer off Samardzija tied it in the fifth. Zack Cozart tripled to right-centre field with two outs in the sixth, and Heisey's pinch-hit single put the Reds ahead as heavy rain started to fall and the third rain delay followed.

"His velocity was still good," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "We thought: 'You know what? He's been battling all game, we'll let him get this guy.'"

Alfredo Simon (4-1) gave up five hits, including Starlin Castro's two-run single, before Heisey pinch-hit for him.

Jonathan Broxton retired all three batters in the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances.

The Cubs have lost five of their last six games, falling to 8-17. Their offence has been horrible on the road, where they're 3-9. They have yet to win a series this season.

"Today was a 3-2 ballgame," Renteria said. "If we keep edging forward, at some point those will start to come. Hopefully they come in bunches."

The series opener on Monday was postponed because of rain and hasn't been rescheduled. The Reds have had seven rain delays in 11 home playing dates this season, with one game postponed and another suspended overnight.

It was another solid but winless performance for Samardzija, who has not gotten a victory in his last 12 starts since Aug. 30. The Cubs haven't scored while he was on the mound — plating only 32 runs in those 12 starts.

Samardzija was in line for a win in his last start, but the bullpen blew a 5-2 lead last Wednesday in a 7-5 loss to Arizona.

He went 5 2-3 innings Tuesday, giving up eight hits and four walks. He has been adept at pitching out of threats all season, but gave the Reds too many chances.

"Today I played with fire just a little too much," he said.

Hamilton had his most productive game as Cincinnati's leadoff hitter, reaching base four times by a walk, two singles and a homer. He scored twice, giving him 12 runs this season.

Hamilton opened the first inning with a walk, stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Brandon Phillips' sacrifice fly made it 1-0.

"A leadoff walk — that can't happen," Samardzija said. "Me putting Hamilton on starts the game on a bad note."

Hamilton had an infield single in the third and was thrown out by catcher Welington Castillo, the fifth time in 15 attempts that Hamilton has been caught stealing this season.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the third on singles by Emilio Bonifacio and Ryan Kalish and a walk to Anthony Rizzo. Castro singled up the middle on the first pitch for a 2-1 lead.

Hamilton shortened to bunt twice in the fifth inning before hitting his first career homer to right field, tying it 2-all.

Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney made the best defensive play of the game. He went up the middle to reach Ryan Ludwick's grounder in the fourth, got to the ball on the third base side of the bag and threw Ludwick out from the outfield grass.

NOTES: Renteria was ejected for arguing ball-and-strike calls in the bottom of the sixth. ... Renteria expects RH Jake Arrieta to be activated and start on Saturday. He's been sidelined by stiffness in his pitching shoulder. ... Reds closer Aroldis Chapman threw 25 pitches during batting practice. He's expected to make his first rehabilitation appearance with Class A Dayton on Thursday. Chapman had a plate inserted above his left eye to heal fractures from a line drive on March 19. He could be activated next week.

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