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CIN@CHC: Wood gloves a bunt, throws to second for out

Travis Wood pitched just as well as Bronson Arroyo last Saturday, but Arroyo's Reds took a 4-2 victory over Wood's Cubs behind three eighth-inning runs off reliever James Russell.

Wood, 25, gets another shot to best Arroyo, 35, on Friday when the Cubs and Reds start a four-game, three-day series at Great American Ball Park.

A left-hander taken by the Reds in the second round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Wood went seven innings on Saturday against his former team, allowing one run on five hits and striking out a season-high eight. Arroyo went eight innings in that game, allowing two runs and earning his eighth win of the season.

"[Wood] was making good pitches and Bronson made good pitches, too," Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick said. "I thought both of the offenses had a tough time today with some good pitching. We were fortunate to have that one inning where they brought in someone new."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum was impressed with Wood's most recent start.

"He pitched as good as you possibly could against all nine guys in the lineup," Sveum said. "That was as impressive an outing as he's had all year."

The Cubs took two of three from the Astros at Wrigley Field before Thursday's off-day.

The Reds, who are 6-3 against the Cubs this season after winning three of four last weekend, continue to sit atop the National League Central with a six-game lead over the Pirates.

Cubs: Jackson making progress
In Wednesday's 7-2 win over the Astros, Brett Jackson had one of his best days at the plate in the big leagues, going 2-for-4 with an RBI triple.

The rookie outfielder is batting .188 in 32 at-bats for the Cubs since being promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Aug. 5.

"Every day, [hitting coach James Rowson] is challenging me," Jackson said before the game. "It doesn't change overnight. You've got some things built into your muscle memory that are hard to break. It may take a while, but I'm working every day to knock that out. I have the talent, I have the ability to be a really good hitter in this league."

Jackson, 24, is trying to simplify his swing and slow down some of the moving parts.

"I've always gotten away with movement, because I have really fast hands, so I could move and still catch up to balls, but it also leads to a lot of swings and misses and foul balls and a lot of strikeouts," Jackson said. "We know that's my favorite area of the game to talk about."

Reds: Frazier candidate for Rookie of the Year
The buzz is building for Reds infielder Todd Frazier as a candidate for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

Frazier is batting .283 and leads NL rookies in triples (five) and RBIs (49).

"I'd be lying if I said I don't look at it, but I do. It's part of the game," Frazier said. "I understand there is a chance. But at the same time, it's my role. I have to know my role playing and I've got to understand that we have to win and get to the playoffs. You play the team game. I learned at a young age that all of that individual stuff will take care of itself."

Worth noting
• The Reds have yet to formally name their starters and their order for Saturday's day-night doubleheader against the Cubs. However, when asked on Thursday, Johnny Cueto said he would be starting the 1:10 p.m. ET day game. The Game 2 starter will likely be a Minor League callup.

• Jeff Samardzija will start Game 1 for the Cubs, who are also TBA on their Game 2 starter. Comments