Four HRs, 7-run 6th power Reds past Cubs

Four HRs, 7-run 6th power Reds past Cubs

CINCINNATI -- Using four home runs, including three in a seven-run sixth inning, the Reds took a 13-5 victory over the Cubs on Saturday at Great American Ball Park. It was the Cubs' first loss to the Reds in six games so far in the season series.

Eugenio Suarez led Cincinnati with three hits and four RBIs, which tied his career-high, including a three-run homer.

Chicago, which came in having outscored Cincinnati, 46-4, since it ended Brandon Finnegan's no-hit bid in the seventh inning on April 11 at Wrigley Field, scored twice in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead for John Lackey. But it all came apart in the sixth after a rally started with back-to-back hits. Suarez tattooed a first pitch from Lackey for a three-run homer to center and the lead. There were two outs and two on when Adam Duvall added a three-run homer to right on a 2-0 pitch from reliever Trevor Cahill. Scott Schebler made it back-to-back long balls with a drive to right on a 2-2 pitch by Cahill for a 9-3 Reds lead.

Reds score seven in the 6th

It was 9-5 after the Cubs scored two in the seventh against Caleb Cotham, which were the first runs he allowed this season. Joey Votto made it a six-run game with a two-run homer to right in the the seventh. Chicago loaded the bases in the eighth against Cotham and Tony Cingrani with two outs, but Suarez robbed Kris Bryant with a nice one-hop pick of a sharp grounder and touched third base for the inning-ending force play.

Votto's two-run shot

"We kind of got to our power tonight, did some really good things offensively and then stacked on," Reds manager Bryan Price said after the Reds set a season-high in runs scored. "How big was that? They made a push and we kind of got in trouble and walked some guys. The play of the day for me was Suarez grabbing that hard one-hopper by Bryant with the bases loaded."

The Cubs stranded 11, which matched a season high. They had opportunities.

Cubs' bullpen gets much-needed work

"Give them credit," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the Reds. "They hit the ball really well tonight. They beat us. … We did leave a lot of people on base, but we did hit some balls well in those moments. The quality of at-bats and the pitches we forced them to throw up and down the lineup, I'm all about it. I thought it was great. With that kind of offensive output, we're normally in the game. They just got us tonight."

Reds reliever Blake Wood pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the victory.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Homer happy: The Reds hit three homers in one inning for the first time since May 21, 2012 vs. the Braves. It was Suarez who got it started when his first-pitch drive to center got the 41,660 fans on their feet and gave his team new life. It was his team-leading fifth homer of the season. The ball left Suarez's bat at 106 mph and traveled 413 feet with a launch angle of 22 degrees, according to Statcast™. More >

Suarez's three-run shot

Start me up: Cubs' starting pitchers had 12 wins in the first 17 games for the first time in franchise history, but Lackey couldn't keep that streak going. The right-hander was charged with six runs over 5 2/3 innings and took his first loss. This was the third time in 18 games that a Cubs starter did not post a quality start, and the second time for Lackey.

Lackey felt he had good stuff, but may try a different tactic in his next outing, especially when he gets ahead of a batter with two strikes.

"I felt really good," Lackey said. "I had pretty good stuff for the most part. That inning they scored a couple runs [in the fourth], little things added up on me. The last one, three-run homer first pitch action got me."

Lackey fans Bruce

Votto goes deep: It was a two-hit night for Votto, who came in 1-for-his-last 22 and hadn't had a multi-hit game since April 11. During the big sixth inning, he followed Suarez with a single to center field. His two-run homer to right field was his second of the season and first since April 15 vs. St. Louis.

"I've got to keep working, man. The only conclusion I've come to after all these years of playing, you have to be fundamentally sound. You have to make good decisions and you've got to repeat that over and over and over as often as possible. The guys that do that the most are usually the best players."

Muscle: Of his nine at-bats in the first two games of the series, Addison Russell had hit hard line drives, but right at people. With two outs in the second, he finally hit a ball the Reds couldn't get, launching his second home run of the season. Russell's throwing error in the fourth led to a Reds' run, but he made up for it with a perfect relay to get Phillips at third in that same inning.

Cubs' impressive relay

QUOTABLE
"A guy like Eugenio, you get a guy like him and he plays well and does good things for us. Those are the sort of surprises that organizations need to have big futures. Todd [Frazier] left and he's a player that is at the level that an organization would miss because he plays at such a high level. For Eugenio to be playing and hitting the way he's hitting, it's very, very important to us. I don't think we'd be 9-9 right now. Not only has he had big situational hits, he's been very, very consistent offensively." --- Votto, on Suarez this season

Suarez's fourth RBI

"There was nothing wrong with the stuff. I threw the ball well. I think I had four two-strike hits. There's ways to rectify that." -- Lackey on his outing, saying sometimes pitchers can throw too many strikes

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Saturday marked the Cubs' first loss in 13 games in which they scored at least four runs. The Reds' runs were a season high by an opponent as well; the previous high was six runs.

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: Jason Hammel will close the Cubs' series against the Reds on Sunday. The right-hander is coming off a win against the Cardinals in which he helped himself, hitting a two-run single. He has given up one or zero runs in six innings in each of his first three starts. First pitch will be 12:10 p.m. CT from Great American Ball Park.

Reds: After being skipped from his last start because of right biceps tendinitis, Alfredo Simon has been cleared to return and start vs. the Cubs in the 1:10 p.m. ET series finale on Sunday. The last time he faced the Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 13, Simon lasted a career-low 2/3 of an inning with five runs allowed while throwing 49 pitches

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.