CINCINNATI (AP) — Ben Zobrist homered twice and drove in three runs, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds, 7-3, on Friday night.
Jake Buchanan (1-0) pitched five shutout innings as Chicago improved to 14-3 against Cincinnati this season with two games to play. The right-hander allowed two hits in his first start since 2014 with Houston.
Anthony Rizzo also drove in two runs for the NL Central champions, who were coming off a rare tie in Pittsburgh due to rain.
Joey Votto hit a two-run homer in the ninth for last-place Cincinnati, which announced before the game that manager Bryan Price would return next season. Josh Smith (3-3) was charged with two runs and three hits in five-plus innings.
The Cubs, headed for the playoffs for the second straight year, announced contract extensions for general manager Jed Hoyer and player development director Jason McLeod. Their new deals run through the 2021 season, mirroring president of baseball operations Theo Epstein’s contract announced on Wednesday.
Smith retired his first 12 batters before Zobrist led off the fifth with a drive to right for his first homer since Sept. 12. The All-Star also connected for a two-run shot in Chicago’s four-run eighth, No. 17 on the year.
Chicago’s first three batters reached in the sixth, chasing Smith, and Addison Russell’s RBI double made it 3-1.
Cubs: OF Jorge Soler (discomfort on his right side) will be re-evaluated on Saturday, manager Joe Maddon said.
Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips, sidelined by soreness in his left wrist and hand, was being examined Friday by members of the Reds medical staff, Price said.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (19-4) seeks his first career 20-win season in his last start. He is 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA in four starts against Cincinnati this season.
Reds: RHP Tim Adleman (3-4), who set a career high with seven innings in his last start on Monday, will try to close out his season with back-to-back wins.
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