CINCINNATI -- Big hits from Miguel Montero and Addison Russell were enough to lift the Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the Reds on Sunday at Great American Ball Park. Chicago took both games of the rain-shortened series.
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead with one out in the second inning against Anthony DeSclafani when Montero hit an 84-mph 1-1 changeup to the seats in left field for a home run. The Cubs added four unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning following third baseman Todd Frazier's fielding error.
With runners on second and third after the miscue, Montero hit an RBI single to left field that scored Anthony Rizzo. Later with the bases loaded and two outs, Russell survived an 0-2 count and delivered the biggest blow by hitting a 1-2 pitch for a three-run double through the gap in right-center field to give the Cubs a 5-0 lead.
"I have to do a better job making a pitch to Russell there," DeSclafani said. "If I just locate my slider a little bit better, we're out of that inning. That's on me."
That boosted starter Jake Arrieta, who gave up two earned runs and four hits over his six innings with three walks and six strikeouts. DeSclafani finished with one of his five runs allowed being earned over five innings with five hits, two walks (one intentional) and five strikeouts. It was his first loss in four starts this season, and the first time Cincinnati lost a game that he started.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Big bopper: Can you name the Cubs' home run leader? It's not Rizzo or Jorge Soler, but Montero and Chris Coghlan. Montero slugged his third of the season and 100th of his career. He hit three home runs in his first 28 games last season; Sunday was his 15th contest of 2015.
"It's not that many, but it's good -- it's a good number," Montero said of reaching 100.
It's even better since the catcher hasn't been playing as much because the Cubs are carrying three catchers and sharing the work load.
"This year, I've been feeling really good when I play," Montero said. "Maybe I'm a little off with my timing -- it's hard when you're used to playing every day. When they put me in the lineup, i have to be ready to play."
Fourth inning of extremes: In the top of the fourth, Kris Bryant's routine ground ball went between the legs of an All-Star third baseman in Frazier for a costly error that put runners on second and third base with no outs and set the stage for a big Cubs rally. In the bottom of the fourth, however, Frazier hit a 1-1 pitch from Arrieta into the left-field seats for his fifth homer of the season. It was the Reds' first hit of the game after Arrieta retired his first 11 batters in a row.
"It's just one of those swings, what can I say? It was just an awful swing and I was very fortunate to hit it out," Frazier said.
Kid stuff: Russell had 11 strikeouts in his first 19 at-bats but delivered with one out in the fourth with his bases-clearing double. Monday will mark the Wrigley Field debut for the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, who was promoted from Triple-A Iowa last Tuesday. More >
Rally fizzles: Down, 5-1, in the fifth, the Reds had the bases loaded with no outs, and later with one out, against Arrieta, and crossed only one run from either chance. After Billy Hamilton's fielder's choice scored Zack Cozart, Joey Votto's walk loaded the bases again. But Frazier popped out in foul territory near first base and Brandon Phillips grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning. The Reds were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and are hitless in their last 23 at-bats in such scenarios. More >
"The energy pregame in the dugout is outstanding. Guys are definitely on top of things and ready to play, and as a manager, that's all you can ask for." -- Cubs skipper Joe Maddon, on his team, which has won nine of its last 14 games.
"I'm pretty sure nobody is happy. I think it's very tough for all of us. It's one of those things where we have to continue to work and get better. Hopefully [Monday], everything changes." -- Reds catcher Brayan Pena, after his team followed a three-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak to fall to 8-10.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In the Cubs' two-city, six-game trip to National League Central rivals Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, three of their four wins came in come-from-behind fashion.
While losing seven of their last 10 games, the Reds scored 24 runs in the three wins and 11 runs in the seven losses.
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Jason Hammel will start Monday in the series opener against the Pirates, which will be a rematch of last Wednesday's game at PNC Park. Hammel gave up three earned runs on six hits over five innings in that game, which the Pirates won. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.
Reds: The homestand continues with a three-game series vs. the Brewers that begins Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Jason Marquis, who gave up five earned runs and nine hits over five innings while getting a 16-10 victory at Milwaukee on Tuesday, will start the opener. Jay Bruce, who is in a 0-for-14 skid that's included nine strikeouts, should be back starting in right field.