TJ Friedl hits a 3-run homer as the Reds beat the slumping Cubs 5-2

CHICAGO (AP) — TJ Friedl hit a three-run homer, Nick Lodolo pitched six effective innings and the Cincinnati Reds beat the slumping Chicago Cubs 5-2 on Sunday.

Jake Fraley had three hits for Cincinnati, which took two of three in the weekend series. Spencer Steer and Jeimer Candelario each had two hits.

“We’re getting timely hits,” Fraley said, “and when we’re getting guys in scoring position, we’re turning the corner to get them in.

“Our hitters had a really good game plan and we executed it.”

Lodolo (5-2) allowed two runs and seven hits in his second straight win. The left-hander struck out three and walked one.

Nick Martinez pitched two scoreless innings for Cincinnati before Alexis Díaz got three outs for his 12th save.

Pinch-hitter Michael Busch reached on a leadoff walk in the ninth, but pinch-hitter Pete Crow-Armstrong flied out, Nico Hoerner bounced to shortstop and Seiya Suzuki struck out looking.

Cody Bellinger had three hits for Chicago, which lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

“We want to walk out of here every day with a win,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re not doing a good enough job of that, certainly, to keep pace at a good level.

“Results fly at you, and you gotta turn the page.”

Cubs rookie Ben Brown (1-2) was charged with five runs and six hits in five innings. Brown was coming off a dominant performance in Milwaukee, striking out 10 while pitching seven no-hit innings on Tuesday.

Cincinnati grabbed control with four runs in the second. Jonathan India hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. After Will Benson struck out swinging for the second out, Friedl hit a three-run shot into the bleachers in right for his first homer of the season.

Friedl has played in just 10 games. The outfielder began the season on the injured list with a broken right wrist. He broke his left thumb when he was hit by a pitch last month and then was reinstated from the IL on Wednesday.

“It feels good,” Friedl said. “Home runs are great and home runs are going to come, but they’re going to come with timing and everything lining up with your swing.”

Candelario singled and scored on Fraley’s sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Bellinger hit an RBI single in the fifth and David Bote drove in another run when he bounced into a fielder's choice in the sixth. But that was it for the Cubs.

Lodolo escaped a jam in the fifth when Christopher Morel grounded into an inning-ending double play.

ROSTER MOVES

Reds: Reliever Justin Wilson (left shoulder tightness) was activated from the 15-day injured list, and LHP Alex Young was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

Cubs: Bote was recalled from Triple-A Iowa, and fellow infielder Nick Madrigal was optioned to the team’s top minor league affiliate. RHP Adbert Alzolay (forearm strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

UP NEXT

Reds: LHP Andrew Abbott (3-5, 3.29 ERA) opens a series at Colorado on Monday against Ryan Feltner (1-4, 5.46 ERA).

Cubs: LHP Shota Imanaga (5-1, 1.86 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday night to begin a two-game crosstown series against RHP Chris Flexen (2-5, 5.50 ERA) and the visiting White Sox.

___ AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb