CINCINNATI (AP) — Devin Mesoraco hit his first home run in more than a month and Jack Hannahan added his first career pinch-hit homer as the Cincinnati Reds avoided a sweep by the last-place Chicago Cubs with a 6-0 win on Wednesday.
Mesoraco, hitless in his previous 13 at bats, had three to lead the Reds to their seventh win on a 10-game home stand. It included a 3-1 record against St. Louis and three-game sweep of NL West Division-leading Los Angeles.
Cincinnati entered the game in third place in the Central, three games behind the division-leading Cardinals and two behind Pittsburgh.
After winning the first two games of the three-game series, the Cubs were in position for their first sweep of the Reds in Cincinnati since May 2001.
Mike Leake (13-6) threw 107 pitches in 5 2-3 innings en route to a career high in wins, despite humid conditions and an 84-degree temperature at game time.
Leake allowed four hits and four walks with six strikeouts. He joined relievers J.J. Hoover, Alfredo Simon, Manny Parra and Sam LeCure to produce Cincinnati’s 16th shutout of the season, four more than last season.
Chicago has been shut out 13 times, three fewer than last season.
The Reds used small ball in the second for a 2-0 lead. Jay Bruce led off with a single and went to third on Todd Frazier’s softly lined single down the left field line. Both players scored on RBI groundouts to second by Xavier Paul and Zack Cozart, who went 0-for-4 and ended his career-high hitting streak at 15 games.
Mesoraco added his ninth homer in the fourth, a one-out solo shot off a pitch by Jeff Samardzija that sailed 429 feet into the first row of the second deck in left field. The homer was Mesoraco’s first in 25 games since he hit two against St. Louis on Aug. 3.
The Reds broke it open in the sixth on Hannahan’s 402-foot, three-run homer into the right field seats off of Samardzija, Hannahan’s first since last July 20 for Cleveland against Baltimore.
Samardzija (8-12) gave up eight hits, six runs and three walks with five strikeouts. He also threw a wild pitch.
Notes: Reds RHP Johnny Cueto threw 60 pitches to live batters Wednesday in the second simulated game of his comeback from a strained muscle below his right shoulder. Neither Cueto, on the disabled list since June 29, nor manager Dusty Baker knew immediately after the session what his next step will be. Cueto says he feels “good and “ready.” … Baker wasn’t sure whether LHP Tony Cingrani would go with the Reds on their road trip or stay behind for physical therapy. Cingrani left Tuesday’s start in the second inning after aggravating the back problem that sent him to the disabled list from Aug. 25 to Sept. 5. … The Reds are off Thursday. The Cubs continue their longest road trip of the season — 11 games in 11 days — with the first of four games at Pittsburgh. LHP Chris Rusin (2-3) is Chicago’s scheduled starter.