CHICAGO - Joey Votto continued his power surge with two home runs and started a dazzling double play Tuesday night as the Cincinnati Reds pulled away to a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Votto has homered in a career-high four consecutive games for the second time (April 2018), one game shy of the team record. Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez also connected as the Reds won for the third time in five games.
Cincinnati rookie Vladimir Gutierrez (5-3) pitched 6 1/3 innings of five-hit ball to earn the win.
Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Patrick Wisdom went deep for the Cubs, who have lost six of 10.
Cubs starter Adbert Alzolay (4-11) allowed three home runs in five innings, increasing his National League lead to 23. Left-handed hitters have 19 homers off Alzolay, who has served up 14 long balls in his last eight starts.
It was Votto’s 14th career multi-homer game and first since June 29, 2017, against Milwaukee. The six-time All-Star and 2010 NL MVP has hit safely in his last five games (8 for 19) and reached base safely in 21 straight for the second-longest active streak in the majors. DJ LeMahieu of the Yankees has a 36-game on-base streak.
"I think it’s more of like, it’s about time," Votto said. "I expect to play like this."
Trailing 4-2 in the third, the Cubs mounted a rally before Votto ran from his first base position and reached across the tarp down the right field line to catch a foul pop by Willson Contreras, then turned and threw quickly to home plate, where catcher Tyler Stephenson tagged Rafael Ortega for the final out of the inning.
"I had to throw a strike," Votto said. "I did not want to bounce the ball."
After the double play, Gutierrez retired 10 of the next 12 batters before Ian Happ hit a bloop double and Wisdom drew a pinch-hit walk with one out in the seventh.
Alzolay allowed a season-high seven hits in five innings, including an RBI single by Kyle Farmer in the second.
Rizzo tied the game for the Cubs with a two-run homer in the first, marking the first time he has homered in three consecutive games since May 2019.
After Rizzo’s homer, the Cubs didn’t score again until the ninth, when Wisdom and Bryant homered off reliever Edgar Garcia. Wisdom’s 15 home runs lead NL rookies.
Bryant acknowledged the scrutiny of potentially being traded by Friday’s deadline has taken its toll on him.
"Some of this stuff is just exhausting," said Bryant, who can become a free agent after this season. "I’m doing my best to keep my focus where it needs to be and help whoever I can here along the way. Take everything in stride. Whatever happens, it’s out of my control."
Bryant said he would not rule out returning to the Cubs in the offseason if he’s traded by Friday.
"I’m always going to listen," Bryant said. "Chicago is a special place to me."
Winkler hit his 21st homer in the first off Alzolay, and Suárez hit reliever Dan Winkler’s first pitch of the sixth for a home run.
Farmer had three of the Reds’ 11 hits, including a single that sparked a two-run ninth.
Cubs SS Javier Baez was scratched from the starting lineup because of a left heel bruise, and manager David Ross is prepared to potentially lose Baez for longer because of a possible suspension.
"Sure, one’s possible," said Ross, who spoke earlier Tuesday with the commissioner’s office regarding Baez’s antics toward Reds left-hander Amir Garrett following the Cubs’ 6-5 win Monday.
HELP ON THE WAY
After the game, the Reds acquired relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson from the New York Yankees for a player to be named.
Cessa went 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA in 29 appearances for New York this year. In six seasons with the Yankees, the 29-year-old right-hander was 10-13 with four saves and a 4.19 ERA in 131 games, including 19 starts.
Wilson was 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA in 21 relief outings. The 33-year-old lefty missed a combined 34 games during two stints on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation and a right hamstring strain.
In 10 big league seasons with five teams, Wilson is 33-23 with 18 saves and a 3.44 ERA in 501 relief appearances.
Left-handed reliever Kyle Ryan and right-hander Cory Abbott were recalled from Triple-A Iowa to the Cubs. They will fill the roster spots of left-hander Andrew Chafin, who was traded to the Oakland Athletics, and reliever Keegan Thompson, who was optioned to Iowa.
Ryan, in his fourth season with the Cubs, had a 2.52 ERA in 19 appearances with Iowa. Abbott, in his fourth stint this season with the Cubs, was 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts for Iowa.
The Reds sent RHP Lucas Sims on a minor league rehabilitation assignment to Triple-A Louisville. The rehab assignment of RHP Michael Feliz was transferred from Louisville to Class A Dayton. Both pitchers are recovering from right elbow sprains.
The Reds send RHP Tyler Mahle (7-3, 3.92 ERA) to the mound Wednesday, while the Cubs counter with RHP Zach Davies (6-6, 4.30).
Mahle allowed two runs in five innings last time out but did not get a decision in Cincinnati’s 6-5 victory over St. Louis. Davies limited Arizona to two runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-3 win Friday.