CINCINNATI (AP) – Joey Votto hit a two-run double in the sixth inning, and the Cincinnati Reds handed the Chicago Cubs their seventh straight loss with a 2-1 victory Friday night.
Cincinnati also got a strong performance from Sonny Gray, who struck out eight in five innings in his first big league start since June 8. He had been sidelined by a strained right groin.
Gray allowed one run and five hits before five relievers combined for four scoreless innings. Josh Osich (1-0) got one out for the win, and Heath Hembree worked the ninth for his second save.
Ian Happ singled for Chicago with two out in the ninth, but pinch-hitter Rafael Ortega struck out swinging for the final out.
The Cubs wasted a solid start by Alec Mills (3-2), who breezed through the first five innings, allowing just one hit.
With two on in the sixth, Chicago manager David Ross called on left-hander Adam Morgan to face the lefty Votto with two outs. Votto responded with a liner to right for the double.
Jason Heyward drove in the only run for the Cubs with a two-out double in the fourth. The Cubs finished with six hits.
Cubs: CF Kris Bryant (side) and 1B Anthony Rizzo (back) returned to the lineup. 3B Patrick Wisdom also was back after leaving Wednesday’s game with a stiff neck and eye contusion from a collision with Milwaukee’s Tyrone Taylor while playing first base.
Reds: CF Tyler Naquin (sore right wrist) returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Saturday. He got two at-bats off the bench in the Padres series. … Right-hander Michael Lorenzen (shoulder) pitched a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance in the Arizona rookie league. He hasn’t pitched for the Reds this season but could rejoin the club after the All-Star break.
The Reds send right-hander Tyler Mahle (7-3) to the mound on Saturday against Chicago right-hander Adbert Alzolay (4-7) on Saturday. Mahle allowed four runs and six hits in six innings in a loss to Atlanta last Sunday. Alzolay also had a rough outing Sunday, lasting just three innings in a loss to the Dodgers.