Cubs ride early burst, Haren to win in Cincy

Cubs ride early burst, Haren to win in Cincy

CINCINNATI -- The Cubs continued their tuneup for the postseason Tuesday night as Miguel Montero smacked a two-run double to back Dan Haren in a 4-1 rain-delayed victory at Great American Ball Park, handing the Reds their 10th straight loss.

Montero's hit came in a four-run first against rookie Josh Smith. Haren, who has said he will likely retire after this season, gave up three hits over 7 1/3 innings, striking out six. The veteran right-hander was making his first start since Sept. 18, and he was able to do some fine-tuning during side sessions, which helped.

"You could see by the hitters' reaction [how well he was throwing]," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "His experience matters. You know he's not intimidated or afraid of anything or any moment."

Said Haren: "I'm confident I can get the job done. That said, it's just been a pleasure being around the guys. I'll be there with them in the dugout regardless. When my name's called, I'll be ready for sure."

Haren's 7 1/3 scoreless innings

The Cubs nearly posted their third consecutive shutout, but the Reds tallied in the ninth when Jason Bourgeois reached third on an error by Austin Jackson and scored on Ivan De Jesus Jr.'s groundout.

Smith and the Reds' bullpen followed the first inning with eight scoreless.

"It was big, not only for me but most of the bullpen," Smith said. "Those guys have had to work a lot here lately. Our job as starters is to go deep. I wanted to go at least six, but it was big to get five after that debacle of the first inning."

The start of the game was delayed 2 hours 31 minutes because of rain. Inclement weather also postponed the Cardinals-Pirates game Tuesday. The Cubs, who have secured a postseason berth, are still uncertain about who they'll face in the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on Oct. 7. Chicago is now three games behind Pittsburgh for the top Wild Card spot. Watch the remaining regular-season games on MLB.TV.

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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Fast start: Haren got an at-bat before he took the mound as the Cubs sent eight batters to the plate in the first and opened a 4-0 lead. Chicago loaded the bases with one out and tallied on Tommy La Stella's sacrifice fly, Montero's two-run double and an RBI single by Javier Baez. Montero collected his 500th and 501st career RBIs with his hit.

Baez's RBI single

Votto bunts, with two strikes? In a strange sequence in the bottom of the first inning during a 2-2 count with two outs, Joey Votto bunted foul for the strikeout. After the at-bat, he was seen speaking with manager Bryan Price in the corner of the dugout. Votto seemed to grimace after he popped up a foul ball on the previous pitch, and Price said after the game that Votto felt some soreness in the back of his shoulder -- but neither disclosed whether that was the reason for his bunt attempt. 

Votto strikes out on bunt

Votto was 0-for-3 before walking on four pitches vs. Carl Edwards Jr. in the ninth to extend his career-high streak of reaching safely to 46 games -- the longest streak in the Majors since Michael Cuddyer did it for the Rockies in 2013.

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"I don't care. It doesn't mean a single thing to me," Votto said of his streak. "If it ended today, it wouldn't have meant anything to me. What matters to me is we keep losing." More >

Votto walks to extend streak

First time for everything: Edwards won't forget his first Major League at-bat. Because Maddon wanted the right-hander to stay in the game, Edwards got an at-bat in the ninth, but it was against hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman. Edwards was told not to swing, got ahead 3-0 in the count and then struck out looking.

"It's kind of memorable," Maddon said. More >

Edwards Jr.'s first at-bat

Hits off Haren hard to come by: One day after being no-hit into the eighth inning by the Nationals, the Reds struggled to get hits vs. Haren. The veteran right-hander retired 17 of his first 18 batters, with Eugenio Suarez's second-inning single in front of center fielder Dexter Fowler being the lone hit over the first five innings. Suarez reached third base on Fowler's error on the play. The Reds got a second hit in the sixth on a two-out infield single by Bourgeois before Tucker Barnhart's double in the eighth prompted Haren's exit.

Suarez gets to third on error

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Chicago's Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat in the first inning. It's the 30th time he's been plunked, and he joins Don Baylor as the only players in Major League history to hit 30 home runs and be hit by a pitch 30 times in a single season. Baylor belted 31 home runs and was hit 35 times in 1986.

Rizzo's 30 hit-by-pitches

"This one stung a little more," Rizzo said. "This was in the top five of the ones that hurt a little more. [Being in the 30-30 club] is cool. It's really cool."

Cut4: Rizzo joins exclusive 30 HBP/30 HR club

• With Tuesday's delayed start, the Reds now have totaled 32 hours 56 minutes of delays this season, including 26 hours 57 minutes at Great American Ball Park. It's the highest total at home since the Reds started tracking weather delays in 1978.

FRAZIER EXITS EARLY
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier exited the game before the top of the fourth inning because of a slight strain of his right Achilles tendon. Frazier, who is considered day to day, hurt himself attempting an unsuccessful sliding catch of Rizzo's foul popup. More >

Frazier leaves the game

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: Lefty Jon Lester will make his 32nd start of the season on Wednesday in the second game of this three-game series. Lester is two K's shy of his fourth 200-strikeout season, and four shy of tying Ken Holtzman's record for the most by a left-hander in Cubs history. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.

Reds: Anthony DeSclafani will make his team-leading 31st and final start of the season in the 7:10 p.m. ET game. DeSclafani allowed a season-high seven runs (five earned) on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings for a 12-5 loss to the Mets on Friday.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.