Kerry Wood thought he had a good grip on the wet ball as he started his throw toward third base, trying for an eighth-inning forceout.
Instead, the ball — and the game — slipped right off his hand.
The reliever's throwing error let two runs score, and Chris Heisey followed with a tiebreaking sacrifice fly that sent the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 win over the sloppy Chicago Cubs on a wet, miserable Tuesday night.
A steady rain and 50-degree temperature made everything messy, especially when the Cubs were handling the ball. They committed four errors, making all seven of Cincinnati's runs unearned.
"That was unbelievable," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Just goes to show that if you stick around here, you'll see a lot of things — a lot of knockdown, drag-out games. It's a challenge."
The final error decided it.
With runners on first and second, Ryan Hanigan bunted back to Wood (1-3), who thought he had a chance for a third-to-first double play. Instead, he threw wide of third, letting two runs score while Hanigan made it all the way to third base.
"The ball's going to be wet, so you just make sure you make a good throw and I threw it to the wall," Wood said. "I had a (good) grip. When I went to go throw it, it slips out."
Heisey then put the Reds ahead, and Joey Votto added an RBI double that sent the Reds to their 11th win in 13 games, sweeping the two-game series.
Bill Bray (1-0) got the win by retiring the one batter he faced in the eighth. Nick Masset pitched the ninth for his first save in four tries, filling in because closer Francisco Cordero had pitched the last four days.
The Reds did a better job handling the conditions, committing only one error.
"When it's raining like that, it's important to make the routine plays," second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "That's what we did."
While the Reds (25-17) reached a season-high at eight games over .500, the Cubs fell to a new low at 17-23, collapsing for the second straight game. Manager Mike Quade called a closed-door meeting after Chicago blew a four-run lead and lost 7-4 Monday night.
A day later, the Cubs again fell apart in tough conditions.
"I guess Knute Rockne I'm not," Quade said.
Carlos Pena put the Cubs up with a three-run homer in the first inning off Edinson Volquez, who can't seem to get through the opening inning without problems. The right-hander has given up runs in six of his nine opening innings. Volquez has allowed 17 earned runs in the first inning, 13 in all other innings combined.
It was Pena's fifth homer and his second in two games.
Just like Monday night, the Cubs gave it away. Starter Matt Garza intentionally walked Ramon Hernandez to load the bases with two outs in the fourth, bringing up Volquez, who doesn't have a hit this season. Volquez hit a grounder that deflected off Pena's glove at first for an error. Garza got the ball and compounded the problem by throwing wildly to home, letting in two more runs.
"I didn't see what happened," Volquez said. "Dusty told me to swing at the first pitch. That's what I did. I didn't see what happened after that."
The Cubs regained the lead when Jose Arredondo forced home a run with a bases-loaded walk in the seventh. Outfielder Tony Campana, called up before the game, doubled home a run in the eighth in his first big league at-bat for a 7-5 lead.
Wood then threw it away.
Chicago's Marlon Byrd matched his career high by striking out four times, ending a 16-game hitting streak that was the best of his career.
NOTES: The Cubs sent OF Tyler Colvin (.113 batting average) to the minors to work out of his funk and called up Campana from Triple-A Iowa. They also swapped relievers, replacing Marcos Mateo with Scott Maine. ... Campana grew up in southwest Ohio and attended the University of Cincinnati. He got 50 tickets for family and friends, who loudly cheered his eighth-inning double. ... The Reds activated 3B Juan Francisco (strained left calf) off the 15-day DL and optioned him to Triple-A Louisville. ... Hernandez extended his hitting streak to 11 games, longest on the Reds this season.