Finnegan, Barnhart lead Reds past Cubs

Finnegan, Barnhart lead Reds past Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- Tucker Barnhart hit a two-run home run and Phillip Ervin added a solo shot to spark the Reds to a 4-2 victory over the Cubs on Saturday in front of 15,443 at Sloan Park.

Brandon Finnegan, who is battling for a spot in the Reds rotation, gave up one hit over two innings, striking out two. This was his second spring outing; he also pitched in relief Tuesday.

"The plan was to go out there, make good pitches and hopefully get to the two innings with no runs on the board," Finnegan said. "Tucker called a good game. I was hitting my spots pretty well today. Everything worked out great."

Finnegan talks strong debut

Miguel Montero improved to 5-for-5 this spring with a solo home run in the Chicago sixth. All of his hits have been to the opposite field.

"I really don't want to get those bloopers right now -- I want to save those for the season," Montero said. "I don't feel quite there yet. I'm working on something, trying to be quieter at the plate. I'm still trying to get that rhythm. I've been getting hits, so you can't complain about that."

Chicago's Eric Jokisch took over in the third for starter Trevor Cahill, and hit Cincinnati's top prospect Jesse Winker in the back with a pitch before serving up a home run to Barnhart as the Reds took a 2-0 lead.

The Cubs loaded the bases with none out in the fourth and scored when Arismendy Alcantara hit into a fielder's choice. But Alcantara was thrown out at second trying to steal, and Albert Almora struck out to end the inning. Almora made up for it in the fifth with a nice running catch to rob Winker of a possible extra-base hit for the second out.

Ervin greeted Drew Rucinski with a home run leading off the Reds' sixth to open a 3-1 lead. Rucinski surrendered an unearned run an inning later when catcher Kyle Schwarber made an errant throw on Scott Schebler's steal of third base.

Up next for the Reds: The Reds will return to Goodyear on Sunday for a 3:05 p.m. ET (1:05 MT) game vs. the Rockies. Rotation candidate Jon Moscot, who opened Cactus League play on Tuesday with one earned run and two hits allowed over two innings vs. the Indians, will make his second start. Relievers Caleb Cotham and Jumbo Diaz are also expected to pitch. Listen live on Gameday Audio.

Up next for the Cubs: Adam Warren will make his Cubs debut on Sunday when the team travels to Scottsdale to play the D-backs. Acquired from the Yankees in the Starlin Castro trade, the Cubs are trying to find the right spot for Warren, who has been used as both a starter and a reliever. Last year with the Yankees, the right-hander was 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA in 17 starts and compiled a 2.29 ERA in 26 relief appearances. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. CT (1:10 MT). Watch live on MLB.TV.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.