CINCINNATI (AP) Nick Lodolo allowed one run through six innings, Tyler Stephenson hit a two-run double and the surging Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Friday night for their sixth straight victory.

The Reds have won 11 of 14 to pull even with the Cubs in second place in the NL Central standings, both at 31-33. Chicago, meanwhile, has lost 11 of 15. The Brewers lead the division.

Elly De La Cruz's speed and a wild pitch resulted in two decisive runs for the Reds in the fourth.

After De La Cruz walked, Cubs starter Justin Steele had him picked off first. But the Reds’ shortstop slid safely just ahead of Michael Busch’s throw to second.

“(Steele) did a phenomenal job keeping him close for three or four pitches,” Busch said. “That’s just a play you want to make.”

Spencer Steer reached on a strikeout/wild pitch when a slider from Steele skipped under Miguel Amaya's glove to put runners on first and third before Stephenson extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games with a double to put the Reds ahead 2-0.

The official scorer initially ruled it a passed ball by Amaya, but later changed it to a wild pitch.

“He's such a good kid and such a good player behind the plate,” Steele said of Amaya. "I told him it's not a big deal. It's baseball. It happens. Probably be the last time it happens.”

The Cubs had the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth, but Cody Bellinger popped to third on the first pitch from Lodolo (6-2). Bellinger came in batting .333 against left-handed pitchers, but went 0 for 4 against Lodolo and Justin Wilson.

“Nick has been pitching great," Reds manager David Bell said. “It was a good start for him against a good lineup. He had a good curveball. He got out of a jam with bases loaded and Bellinger at the plate.”

Blake Dunn doubled for his first major league hit then scored on Stuart Fairchild's single to make the score 3-0 in the fifth.

“Right out of the box, I was hustling hard," Dunn said. "I knew I had a chance to get a double and as I turned the base, I picked up my head and saw he just got to the ball. We score a lot of runs that way, by being aggressive.”

Steele, who made his eighth start for the Cubs since coming off the injured list, retired the first 10 batters he faced before walking De La Cruz in the fourth.

Steele (0-3) pitched seven innings, allowing three runs and five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.

“He pitched beautifully,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “It was a well-pitched game, and certainly a game when you get a start like that, you hope to win.”

Dansby Swanson's solo homer made the score 3-1 in the sixth. It was the only run Lodolo allowed. He struck out seven and gave up four hits.

Busch walked and scored on Amaya's double in the ninth, but Alexis Díaz struck out Patrick Wisdom to close out his 13th save.


Cubs: 2B Nico Hoerner was scratched from the lineup due to continued soreness from being hit on the right hand by a pitch on Thursday night. X-rays were inconclusive and Hoerner will undergo further tests. ... LHP Jordan Wicks was reinstated from the injured list and moved to the bullpen.

Reds: LHP Brandon Williamson (left shoulder strain) was returned from a rehab assignment due to persistent shoulder soreness. He will be shut down for at least seven days then reevaluated.


Reds left-hander Andrew Abbott (4-5, 3.39) will oppose Cubs right-hander Ben Brown (1-2, 3.33) on Saturday.



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