- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - Cincinnati manager Bryan Price pulled Alfredo Simon in the first inning. He went to his bullpen five times in all.

For a former pitching coach, it was one rough night.

“It was a painful game to watch, just from a tempo perspective,” Price said.

Simon recorded two outs in the shortest start of his career and the Reds issued 10 walks in a 9-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

Simon (0-1) allowed five runs and four hits, struck out one and walked three. His previous shortest start was four outs for Baltimore at Texas on April 14, 2009.



“I’m a pitcher who throws a lot of strikes but today my balls were away and that was the trouble,” Simon said.

Miguel Montero walked twice and scored three times as the Cubs improved to 7-1 for the first time since 1985 and just the 11th time overall. Kris Bryant hit his first homer of the season, and Jason Heyward contributed a two-run single to go along with a diving grab on Scott Schebler’s liner in the fourth.

Chicago leads the majors with 48 walks and has outscored its opponents 56-20 during its impressive start.

“Big at-bats all night long,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We were not chasing out of the zone up and down the lineup.”

John Lackey (2-0) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings in his first start at Wrigley Field since he signed a $32 million, two-year deal with Chicago in free agency over the winter. He struck out seven and walked three, rebounding nicely from a shaky start at Arizona last Thursday.

Lackey also contributed at the plate, chasing Simon with an RBI single in Chicago’s five-run first. Jorge Soler had a sacrifice fly and Addison Russell singled home a run before Lackey drove in Montero with a grounder into right field.

“I wanted to throw strikes but when I wanted the ball to go down it went up,” Simon said.

Jay Bruce and Ivan De Jesus each drove in a run for Cincinnati, which used five relievers. Eugenio Suarez had two hits.

BRYANT’S BLAST

Chicago had a 7-1 lead in the fourth when Bryant lined a 2-0 pitch from Keyvius Sampson over the wall in left for a solo shot. He also had a bases-loaded walk in the first.

Bryant made his major league debut last April and hit his first homer in his 21st game. He finished with 26 and was the unanimous choice for NL Rookie of the Year.

“I think it took over 20 games last year,” Bryant said. “Yeah, always good to get the first one out of the way.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: C Devin Mesoraco (right hip tightness) and SS Zack Cozart (quadriceps) were out of the starting lineup. Price said they got “a little banged up” in Monday’s loss to the Cubs. … Price said it looks as if RHP Jon Moscot (strained intercostal muscle) will be ready to pitch Sunday in St. Louis. He allowed five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday. … RHP Anthony DeSclafani (strained oblique) threw 45 pitches in a bullpen session.

Cubs: INF Javier Baez (left thumb contusion) went 1 for 4 and scored a run in a rehab appearance with Triple-A Iowa. He could rejoin the team by the end of the week. “He’s getting close,” Maddon said. … Maddon said Wrigley Field’s new home clubhouse makes it easier for C-OF Kyle Schwarber to stay around the team while he recovers from his season-ending left leg injury. “Why is this facility so important? This is a perfect example of why,” he said. Maddon had no update when asked about a date for Schwarber’s surgery.

UP NEXT

Reds right-hander Raisel Iglesias (1-0, 2.31 ERA) and Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel (0-0, 1.50 ERA) are scheduled to pitch in the series finale on Thursday night. Iglesias got the win his last time out, allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh. Hammel is making his second start of the year after pitching six innings of one-run ball in a no-decision at Arizona on Friday.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at https://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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