Drew Stubbs homered and Cincinnati's deep bullpen held off the Arizona Diamondbacks with the help of a homer-saving catch by right fielder Jay Bruce as the Reds moved one step closer to the NL Central title with a 7-5 win Wednesday night
Orlando Cabrera had three doubles — giving him five in his last three games — and scored three runs and five relievers teamed up to pitch six innings of two-run relief in support of starter Homer Bailey, who left the game after three innings with dizziness.
Left-hander Bill Bray pitched a perfect fourth and fellow lefty Matt Maloney (1-2), called up from Triple-A Louisville on Sept. 3, retired the first seven batters he faced before giving up Kelly Johnson's 21st homer with one out and nobody on in the seventh.
Nick Masset finished the seventh and Aroldis Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. The scoreboard pitch speed indicator wasn't operating, but the television broadcast indicated two of his 18 pitches were over 100 mph.
Francisco Cordero, who blew saves in two of Cincinnati's three games against Pittsburgh over the weekend, drew boos after allowing singles to the first two batters in the ninth. He gave up a run on a groundout before Bruce made a running, leaping catch in the right field corner to rob Adam LaRoche of a game-tying homer and preserve Cordero's 36th save.
Cincinnati went into the game with a seven-game lead over second-place St. Louis, which was hosting the Cubs.
The game was briefly delayed in the top of the third inning when a young man and woman draped a sign over the center field fence protesting Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law.
The Reds pounced on Ariziona starter Joe Saunders for four runs — three unearned — in the first inning. Cabrera doubled with one out and scored on Jonny Gomes's triple into the left field corner. Center fielder Chris Young was charged with an error after failing to catch Miguel Cairo's fly ball, and Stubbs converted with his 18th homer of the season and second in three nights.
Cincinnati added a run in the second on Cabrera's second double and Joey Votto's RBI single up the middle. Gomes followed Cabrera's eighth-inning double and Votto's groundout with an RBI bloop single to right.
The Diamondbacks got back in the game with three runs in the third off Bailey. Two scored on Miguel Montero's bases-loaded double and Brandon Allen drove in the third with a groundout.
Bailey gave up four hits with five walks and five strikeouts.
Saunders (8-16) shook off a rough first two innings to last 7 1-3. He gave up nine hits and seven runs — four earned — with one walk and four strikeouts while slipping to 1-6 over his last eight starts.
Notes: OF Justin Upton was scratched from Arizona's original starting lineup after reporting a flareup of the left shoulder irritation that had sidelined him for nine games from Aug. 31 through Sept. 10. ... Utility player Willie Bloomquist, acquired by Cincinnati from last-place Kansas City on Monday, finally was in uniform Wednesday. "To pick up that many games overnight is exciting," said Bloomquist, who started in right field and reached on an infield hit in his first at-bat. ... Reds 3B Scott Rolen got the night off after a swing in his third at-bat on Tuesday left him with stiffness in his neck and upper back.