CINCINNATI -- After a dismal April and May that had them off to their worst start since the Great Depression, the Reds are beginning to regain some swagger under interim manager Jim Riggleman. This weekend, Cincinnati accomplished something it hadn't done in more than 35 years -- sweep the Cubs in four games.
Jesse Winker's pinch-hit three-run home run highlighted a seven-run seventh inning as the Reds overcame a five-run deficit to rally for their seventh consecutive victory, 8-6, on Sunday at Great American Ball Park.
"That's a really strong club over there," said first baseman Joey Votto, whose RBI double gave the Reds the lead for good after surviving a replay review. "It shows the work we've been doing behind the scenes, and then to execute on the field and beat a club like the Chicago Cubs is probably something we should hang our hat on."
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The Reds scored seven times on seven hits and three walks in the big seventh frame -- one free pass coming with the bases loaded -- as they sent 13 batters to the plate to complete their first four-game sweep of the Cubs since 1983.
Right-hander Michael Lorenzen started the Reds' scoring with a pinch-hit solo home run in the fifth, helping spark the rally that extended Cincinnati's longest winning streak since a 10-game stretch in 2012, when it won the National League Central title.
"Games like this," said Lorenzen, "it just feels like we're not meant to lose."
Raisel Iglesias earned his 13th save for the Reds. Jackson Stephens (1-0) got the win for Cincinnati, and Pedro Strop (3-1) took the loss for Chicago.
Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run home run for the Cubs, who played their final game of the season at Great American Ball Park. The Reds still have 10 games remaining at Wrigley Field.
Sal Romano's career-high scoreless streak reached 14 innings before Jason Heyward's two-run double on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth put the Cubs ahead, 2-0. Javier Baez followed with an RBI single to make it a three-run lead.
Rizzo followed with a two-run blast to right field, his 12th of the season, and the Cubs led 5-0.
"If I had to do it over again, I would have thrown a curveball," Romano said. "But it's not about me today. It was a really good win for us."
Romano allowed five runs, walked one and struck out six over his five innings but earned a no-decision when the Reds rallied.
"He threw a lot of bad pitches in that [fifth] inning, after being so clean," Riggleman said. "He didn't get away with anything."
Mike Montgomery, who was an emergency starter for the Cubs after Tyler Chatwood's wife went into labor early Sunday morning, had allowed one hit through 4 2/3 innings when Lorenzen launched his 1-1 pitch for a solo homer to get the Reds on the board.
The Cubs got that run back when Albert Almora Jr. hit his third homer of the season, a solo shot off Stephens in the seventh.
But the Reds erupted for seven runs in the seventh, including three on Winker's third career pinch-hit home run on Strop's first pitch to cut the deficit to 6-5.
It's only the third time since 1970 that the Reds have had two pinch-hit home runs in a game.
Votto's RBI double put Cincy ahead, 7-6. Jose Peraza's bases-loaded walk forced in another run to give the Reds a two-run cushion they wouldn't relinquish.
"To come back and slowly chip away then get ahead late in the game, I think it's a really good sign," Votto said. "We didn't give up. We had a really bad start. It's a long season. We have to continue to work. Hopefully by the end, we have some really good things to say about the season."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Romano got a lift from his defense when Almora was thrown out trying to score from first on Baez's double to end the third. A perfect relay from Peraza gave left fielder Adam Duvall his third assist of the season. That run would prove to be an important one when the Reds scored seven times in the seventh.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
It was a good series for Reds pitchers at the plate. The day after Anthony DeSclafani became the first Reds pitcher since 1959 to hit a grand slam, Lorenzen launched a solo home run off Montgomery with two outs in the fifth. It was his third career home run and second as a pinch-hitter. He last homered on April 6, 2017, off the Phillies' Adam Morgan. Lorenzen is 2-for-4 this season. On the mound, he is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 12 appearances with one save.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Reds had already put together an incredible rally just to tie the game in the seventh -- having scored six runs without making an out -- when their superstar first baseman stepped to the plate with the go-ahead runs aboard. Votto, of course, didn't waste his chance to give Cincinnati the lead, ripping a tiebreaking double into the right-center-field gap off Strop and sliding in just ahead of the tag at second. The Cubs challenged whether Votto was tagged out at second, but the safe call would stand after review.
The Reds begin a three-game series at SunTrust Park in Atlanta on Monday, with right-hander Tyler Mahle making his 16th start of the season and second against the Braves. Mahle is 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA in his past four starts. He earned a no-decision after allowing three earned runs over six innings in a 9-7 win over Atlanta on April 24. The Braves will counter with right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in four career starts vs. Cincinnati. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET.