Reds 5, Cubs 3: Johnny Cueto tossed six scoreless innings and Henry Rodriguez capped a five-run seventh inning with a two-run double as visiting Cincinnati finished a three-game sweep at Wrigley Field and clinched a playoff berth.
Xavier Paul had two hits and an RBI and Denis Phipps went 2-for-4 and scored a run for the Reds, who won the season series 12-4 and reduced their magic number to clinch the National League Central to two. They are assured of at least a wild card spot.
Cueto (18-9) walked four and allowed five hits but kept the Cubs off the board to become the fifth big-league pitcher to reach 18 wins this season. It's Cueto's first win since Aug. 28, as he improved to 4-0 against the Cubs this season. Alfredo Simon allowed a run on two hits in the ninth before earning his first save since 2010.
Cubs starter Jason Berken matched zeroes with Cueto for six innings, allowing just two hits and two walks, but the Reds broke through against Manuel Corpas (0-2) in the seventh. Corpas made it through the inning but allowed five runs on six hits.
Anthony Rizzo put the Cubs on the board with an RBI single in the seventh and they had a chance for more before Alfonso Soriano hit into a double play to end the inning. Welington Castillo added a solo homer in the eighth.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Reds manager Dusty Baker remained in the hospital Thursday for further testing after being hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat a day earlier. Depending on the test results, Baker could return to the team for Friday's series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. … Most of the Reds' regular starters got the day off. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce both appeared as pinch hitters. … The announced attendance of 25,891 is the lowest of the year at Wrigley Field.