Kosuke Fukudome's homer tied it in the top of the eighth, but his throwing error in the bottom half of the inning helped Cincinnati rally for a 7-5 victory Sunday that completed the Reds' season-long domination of the Chicago Cubs.
The Reds took a five-game lead in the NL Central, their biggest edge since early in the 2002 season, when second-place St. Louis lost to Washington 4-2.
Cincinnati won 12 of its 16 games against Chicago this season, its best showing since going 12-5 in 2002. The NL Central leaders have won 11 of their last 15 games overall.
Fukudome's two-run homer off Arthur Rhodes tied it at 5. His throw from right field skipped into a photographers' booth behind third base in the bottom of the inning, letting in the go-ahead run off Sean Marshall (6-5).
Logan Ondrusek (4-0) stopped the Cubs' rally in the eighth. Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 41 chances, including 11 in a row.
The Reds matched their season high at 20 games over .500 (75-55). They haven't been 21 games over since 1999, the last time they were in playoff contention. Cincinnati lost a one-game playoff to the New York Mets for the NL wild card that year.
The Reds haven't been in the playoffs since 1995. They haven't even had a winning record since 2000, Ken Griffey Jr.'s first season in his hometown.
Jay Bruce hit a solo homer, his fourth of the series, and Joey Votto extended his hitting streak to eight games. Drew Stubbs batted leadoff, had three hits and scored three times.
The Reds started their third straight game without All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips, who has a bruised right hand that was hit by a pitch on Wednesday. He was a pinch-runner in the eighth.
Chris Heisey started the winning rally with a single, and headed for third on Ramon Hernandez's single to right. He was awarded home on Fukudome's throw. Jonny Gomes followed with a run-scoring infield single.
Reds rookie starter Travis Wood had a second straight subpar showing. The left-hander gave up a career-high seven runs in a 16-5 loss at San Francisco on Tuesday, and was constantly in trouble against the Cubs. Chicago had 10 hits and three walks in five innings, but managed only three runs.
NOTES: The Cubs are 4-2 under Mike Quade, who took over when Lou Piniella retired last Sunday. ... The Cubs return to Wrigley Field for a for a nine-game homestand. They'll honor new Hall of Famer Andre Dawson in a pregame ceremony on Monday. ... Reds manager Dusty Baker said Phillips' hand is getting better each day, but he's still having trouble holding a bat. "He's still not there yet," Baker said. "The swelling's going down." ... The 10 hits were the most allowed this season by Wood.