CIN@CHC: Cingrani stumps Cubs over seven innings

CHICAGO -- There's no question rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani has impressed in the time he's spent with the big league club this year. The Reds would love to hold on to him, but they simply don't have a place in the rotation. For now, they have him at their disposal strictly as a sixth starter.

"Whose place is he going to take? It's not a dilemma, that's how it is," manager Dusty Baker said. "Yeah, he's deserved it. His breaking ball and secondary pitches are getting better. Before we push somebody out and push somebody in, if a guy's not doing a job, there's a lot of things involved. There's contracts, all kind of stuff. He's done excellent for what we needed him to do."

Baker said he told the team in Spring Training that it will take everyone to "win this thing," and that includes players filling in when needed.

Cingrani tied a career high with seven innings pitched Tuesday night, recording his third quality start in seven outings this year. He's 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA, and with the club in lieu of the injured Johnny Cueto. Cingrani is considered by MLB.com to be the Reds' No. 3 prospect, and second best pitching prospect.

"Who knows what we're gonna do in the future? Every organization has somebody in waiting," Baker said. "If they didn't, you wouldn't be a very good organization. There's a lot of value in that. Eventually he's going to be on the team. Eventually if you pitch well or play well enough, you will be on the team. The key word is eventually."

Baker said the team has to keep the team's and Cingrani's best long-term interests in mind. For that reason, moving him to the bullpen is unlikely. But if the situation calls for it, perhaps in September or in the playoffs, that may be a different story.

"If you did that, that's thinking about today," Baker said. "Because he wouldn't have progressed with his breaking ball or his secondary pitches if he went to the bullpen. You can't have both. … Later, down the line, if we're in a pennant race and we need him after he's honed some of his skills, I wouldn't be reluctant at all to put him in the bullpen. But it's September, or down the stretch with September call-ups."

Votto will get a day off -- just not quite yet

CIN@CHC: Votto smothers Castro's hot shot to rob hit

CHICAGO -- Dusty Baker wouldn't mind giving Joey Votto a day off. But it begs the question: How do you find time to rest your first baseman when you're chasing the best team in the league (the Cardinals), and he's hitting .389 over the course of a five-game hitting streak?

"I'm going to give him a day off," Baker said. "It's just that I'm getting tired of people asking, to tell you the truth. When I see his performance slow down and I see his bat slow down, then that's when I'll give him a day off."

On Tuesday, Votto collected two RBIs and scored two runs in a game for the third time this year, thanks in part to a third inning two-run homer. Entering Wednesday's 2-1 win, he was hitting .341 with three doubles, two homers and five RBIs in 11 games against the Cubs this season. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Wednesday.

Votto has started each of the Reds' 66 games this season.

"You look at all the guys in history, the guys that have played on consecutive days or streaks, other than Cal Ripken, most of them are first basemen," Baker said. "An outfielder runs a mile every day back and forth to his position. At [Wrigley Field], a first baseman runs about five yards. So it's different. But I'm going to give him a day."

Worth noting

• Derrick Robinson made his fourth appearance in the leadoff spot on Wednesday (his third start) with Shin-Soo Choo batting second against a lefty. Robinson went 1-for-4 in the 2-1 win over the Cubs, and Choo was 1-for-3 with his 17th double of the year, a walk and a run.

"Robinson has hit left-handers and he's led off in the Minor Leagues," Baker said. "No big deal. I just think it's best for now with Choo struggling [against lefties]."

Choo was hitting .157 this year against lefties, and was 0-for-6 with four strikeouts against Chicago starter Travis Wood entering Wednesday. But he doubled off Wood in the sixth, leading to the Reds' first run.

• Cubs manager Dale Sveum had this to say about the Reds' record 11-game winning streak at Wrigley Field (which extended to 12 later in the day): "They have a nice offense. They battle. They have good left-handed hitters and their right-handed hitters, you have [Brandon Phillips] who's right up there at the top of the league in driving in runs. ... That's a good lineup in most parks. You put them in a park like this and it's calm, [Wrigley] fits a lot of lineups."

• With the Reds' win on Tuesday, Baker recorded his 1,620th career victory to pass Ralph Houk for 16th on Major League Baseball's all-time wins list.