Bruce's three-homer night leads Reds past Cubs

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, Last Updated: 4:37 PM ET

CINCINNATI - Jay Bruce slammed a career-best three home runs and Chris Valaika also homered to back eight innings of one-run ball from Johnny Cueto as Cincinnati crushed Chicago, 7-1, to open a three-game set at Great American Ball Park.

Bruce tied a career-high with five runs batted in during his eighth career multi-homer game while Drew Stubbs added two hits, a run scored, two stolen bases and a walk for the Reds, who have won two straight and 10 of 13 games overall since being swept by the Cardinals in three games two weeks ago.

Cueto (12-4) allowed six hits, did not walk a batter and fanned eight in helping Cincinnati push its lead over St. Louis in the NL Central to 4 1/2 games. Sam LeCure retired the side in order in the ninth to preserve the Reds’ 11th win in 14 meetings with Chicago this season.

Tom Gorzelanny (7-8) was saddled with the loss after allowing a season-high six earned runs on seven hits and a pair of walks with only one strikeout in five innings for the Cubs, who had a three-game win streak halted.

“You have to ask him but I refuse to make any kind of excuses for anybody,” said Cubs manager Mike Quade when asked whether or not Gorzelanny’s high pitch counts in his last two outings was reflected in his performance Friday night. “He was fresh and felt good, he just made a couple of mistakes.”

Valaika doubled with one out in the first and scored when Joey Votto followed with a base hit to right field.

Bruce, batting leadoff for the first time in almost two years in the absence of Brandon Phillips, blasted a solo shot to right-center with one out in the third to give the home team a 2-0 lead.

The Cubs plated their lone run in the fourth when Xavier Nady singled with two outs and scored when Tyler Colvin followed with a double to right-center.

Bruce belted his second homer of the night, a three-run clout, to right-center with one out in the fifth to extend the Cincinnati lead to 5-1. Valaika then followed with his first big league longball to left.

The lefty-swinging Bruce connected again on a one-out smash in the seventh off Scott Maine to make it a 7-1 contest.

“My goal is to get myself in a position to get a good pitch to hit,” said Bruce of his approach at the plate. “If my mechanics are right, good things are going to happen. The great thing about it is this isn’t about me or anyone else, it’s about all of us on our team. We’ve got something pretty cool going on here and for us to be able to capitalize on this is going to be huge.”

Game Notes

Phillips, who was hit in the right hand in Wednesday’s series finale in San Francisco, does not have any broken bones but will be sidelined for an undetermined amount of time...However, earlier on Friday, the Reds did place pitcher Mike Leake on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder fatigue and recalled third baseman Juan Francisco from Triple-A Louisville...Cueto improved to 3-5 in 10 career meetings with the Cubs...Cincinnati is 59-24 when hitting a home run and 46-12 when scoring first...Chicago had a five-game road win streak snapped...Gorzelanny had allowed only seven home runs this year before being roughed up for a trio of long balls on Friday night. He is 0-3 in four starts versus the Reds this season and 3-5 in 10 career turns against them.


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