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CIN@CHC: Sveum on the timely hitting by Soriano

No one is more aware of the Cubs' current stretch of tough games than manager Dale Sveum.

With seven of Chicago's next 10 contests against the Reds, who sit atop the National League Central, Sveum knows his team will be tested.

"It is just a matter of going out and competing. Yeah, it's tough, but every Major League game is tough," Sveum said. "That's why you play 162 games. Teams get hot, teams get cold, all that. No matter who we're playing, this is going to be a stretch where you're going to see what guys are made out of, no doubt about it."

Chicago got off on the right foot in Thursday's series opener against the Reds, picking up a 5-3 win. The Cubs will try and do that again on Friday, with right-hander Justin Germano taking the hill at Wrigley Field against Reds right-hander Homer Bailey.

Germano allowed two runs on three hits to the Dodgers on Sunday for the no-decision. He also struck out three and walked none in just his second start for the Cubs this season.

Meanwhile, Bailey will look to get back to his winning ways after struggling in his last two starts.

Allowing 10 runs on 18 hits in his last two outings, Bailey surrendered four runs on nine hits in just 4 2/3 innings on Sunday against the Pirates. It marked Bailey's seventh loss of the season.

"My pitches didn't have depth," Bailey said after his last start. "I just had a hard time getting on top of it and just didn't make very good pitches. I don't think it was anything physical, I don't feel tired at all. Just execution of pitches, that's all it was."

Reds: Rolen out of lineup
Third baseman Scott Rolen was out of the Reds' starting lineup Thursday, with manager Dusty Baker saying Rolen is "sore."

Rolen also sat out the team's finale of a three-game series in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

"He's a little sore," Baker said of Rolen, who went 2-for-5 with a run scored and a double in the first two games against the Brewers on this road trip. "[He's] day to day. This came up ... [Wednesday] night. You get one guy back and another guy goes down temporarily. We just have to do like we've been doing the whole time [dealing with injuries]."

Cubs: Garza hoping to return this season
Matt Garza was with the Cubs on Thursday at Wrigley Field, three days after he was shut down indefinitely with a stress reaction in the back of his right elbow.

While no official timetable has been set for Garza's return, the right-hander said his goal is to be back on the mound this season.

"I'm hoping," Garza said. "That's why I'm working my tail off. Doing everything I can."

Garza hasn't pitched since he left his July 21 outing after three innings because of cramping in his right triceps.

Worth noting
• Thursday was the 24th anniversary of the first "official" night game at Wrigley Field, a 6-4 Cubs victory over the Mets on Aug. 9, 1988. The originally scheduled first night game was set for the previous evening, but was postponed because of rain.

• The Reds have spent 70 days alone or tied for first place in the National League Central this season.

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