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Cingrani's back flares up, Reds fall 9-1 to Cubs

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GARY SCHATZ | September 11, 2013 12:14 AM EST | AP


CINCINNATI — The good news for the Reds was that they ended their streak of scoreless innings. The bad news was that it wasn't nearly enough against a Cubs team that hit five home runs.

Welington Castillo drove in three runs with two homers, Donnie Murphy added a two-run shot and even pitcher Edwin Jackson got in on the act, smacking a solo shot in helping Chicago roll to a 9-1 victory over suddenly punchless Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

Jackson hit his second career home run in the seventh inning on his way to his first win in seven starts since July 31.

Manager Dusty Baker emptied his bench after Jackson's long ball.

"I told my guys to go home. It was a hot game tonight. They wanted to stick around. I told them to go home and get ready for tomorrow," Baker said.

The Reds – who went into the game third in the NL Central, two games behind first-place St. Louis – saw their streak of consecutive scoreless innings reach 15 before Zack Cozart and pinch-hitter Corky Miller hit consecutive doubles with one out in the seventh. Cincinnati last scored in a walkoff win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

"We played two good teams and played really good baseball," left fielder Ryan Ludwick said. "I don't know if you can call it a letdown. I don't know if you call it not focused. I don't know if you call it not enough energy. I don't know if you call it those guys came in to play spoilers."

Jackson (8-15) allowed nine hits and one run with four strikeouts in seven innings.

The Cubs earned consecutive wins over Cincinnati for the first time since 2011, when they won on Sept. 7 in Chicago and Sept. 12 in Cincinnati – a span of 36 games. They clinched their first series win at Great American Ball Park since Aug. 3-5, 2009.

Reds starter Tony Cingrani, in his second start since coming off the disabled list on Thursday, left the game two outs into the second inning with back spasms. He had been sidelined since Aug. 25 with a lower back strain.

"Losing Tony was tough," Ludwick said. "All around it was a bad game from the first inning on."

It was the second time that Cingrani, who took the spot in the rotation that belonged to Johnny Cueto, had a problem with his back.

"It was the same injury to Cingrani," Baker said. "He warmed up great. He didn't feel anything. In between the first and second he said his back was tight. It was devastating at that point. We had to go to the bullpen early. Thankfully, we have a day off on Thursday. The back end of my bullpen was beaten up pretty badly."

Junior Lake led off the second with a double, giving him a seven-game hitting streak and his fourth streak of seven or more games since he was called up from Triple-A Iowa on July 19. Castillo followed one out later with a 470-foot homer into the upper deck in left field on a full-count pitch. Castillo's fifth homer of the season was his first since Aug. 10. Cingrani (7-4) left the game one out later.

Murphy added his 377-foot, two-run homer down the left field line on the first pitch he saw from Greg Reynolds in the third inning. Lake singled to right and went to second on right fielder Jay Bruce's error, and Darnell McDonald drove him in with a soft single to center field that Shin-Soo Choo appeared to misjudge.

Darwin Barney drove in Jackson with a sacrifice fly in the fourth and Murphy added an RBI double in the sixth before Castillo hit his second homer in the seventh – the second multi-homer game of his career.

The Reds had 10 hits but were frustrated by three double plays.

"Every time we got something going there was a double play in there," Baker said. "We had some action but the double plays really hurt, especially when you're trying to come back. It's very deflating."

Even with losses to a team they had beaten 13 times in 16 games before the series began, the Reds are looking ahead to the afternoon finale of the series and homestand.

"We took three steps forward and two steps back," Baker said. "You don't like losing and you don't like losing to the Cubs. We have to come back tomorrow. We can have a 7-3 homestand. That's .700 ball."

NOTES: The Cubs will use a six-man rotation for the 12-game stretch that started on Monday, allowing RHP Scott Baker to get two more starts as he continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery. They will go back to a five-man rotation for the remaining eight games. "Everybody will get their same amount of starts," manager Dale Sveum said. "Everybody will just get a little bit extra rest. It works out where (LHP Travis) Wood and (RHP Jeff) Samardzija will pitch against the Cardinals (in the season's last series)." ... Reds LHP Sean Marshall said he felt good after throwing 23 pitches off the mound to live batters in simulated game action before Tuesday's game. Marshall has been on the disabled list since May 24 with shoulder tendinitis. ... Cueto is scheduled to throw about 45 pitches in another set of simulated innings before Wednesday's game. Cueto threw 30 on Sunday as he continues his comeback from a strained muscle below his right shoulder. He's been on the DL since June 29.