University of Cincinnati product Ian Happ hit a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Chicago Cubs won for the 14th time in 17 games, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on Friday.
With a second straight NL Central title in hand and their sights set on another World Series championship, the Cubs held sluggers Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant out of the lineup. They also watched as Jose Quintana got knocked out in a four-run fifth. But they still found a way to pull it out.
Trailing 4-2 in the eighth, Tommy La Stella started the rally with a one-out single against Amir Garrett. Taylor Davis then singled to third off Michael Lorenzen (8-4). After Kyle Schwarber struck out, Happ drove his 24th homer to left.
Brian Duensing (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth. Justin Grimm worked the ninth for his first save in three chances.
Cincinnati’s Joey Votto had two hits and an RBI, giving him 100 this season. He also reached base in his 30th straight game.
Robert Stephenson gave up two runs — one earned — and four hits in five innings for the Reds, who lost for the ninth time in 10 games.
Quintana gave up four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Coming off his second career shutout, a three-hitter against Milwaukee, the left-hander was sailing along with a 2-0 lead when he ran into trouble in the fifth.
With runners on first and third, he gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Scott Schebler and Tucker Barnhart. After Stephenson bunted into a double play, Phillip Ervin chased Quintana with an RBI single to left.
Felix Pena then walked Zack Cozart before Votto lined an RBI single off the glove of leaping second baseman La Stella, making it 4-2.
Reds: Cozart was back in the lineup after missing a game because of right quadriceps tightness.
Cubs LHP Jon Lester (12-8, 4.46 ERA) makes his final regular season start, while RHP Jackson Stephens (2-0, 3.86) goes for Cincinnati. Lester has a 4.94 ERA in five September starts after posting a 7.85 ERA over four outings in August.