Reds take aim at series victory over Cubs

The Cincinnati Reds will play the rubber match of their game series with the Chicago Cubs tonight at Wrigley Field.

Cincinnati has won three of its last five games since losing four in a row and needed 13 innings to even this series last night. With the score tied at two apiece in the top of the 13th inning, Dave Sappelt led off the inning with a double and reigning NL MVP Joey Votto followed suit to plate the go- ahead run. Miguel Cairo's single two outs later brought Votto to the plate for a 4-2 advantage.

Sappelt had three hits and two runs scored, while Votto finished with two hits, a pair of runs scored and two RBI for Cincinnati, which got a career- high nine innings out of starter Mike Leake. Leake carried a one-hit shutout into the bottom of the ninth inning and allowed a game-tying, two-out, two-run homer to Bryan LaHair for the no-decision.

Leake retired 18 of his first 19 batters.

"He was attacking the bottom of the strike zone. He doesn't mess around," Cubs manager Mike Quade said of Leake.

Aroldis Chapman tossed 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the win, and Francisco Cordero turned in a perfect 13th to earn his 31st save. Cordero posted his 321st career save, tying him with Jose Mesa for the all-time record by Dominican-born relievers.

"He's climbing up the list," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Certainly it would have been terrible had we lost that game."

The Reds will also visit Colorado for three games on this nine-game road trip and are scheduled to send Johnny Cueto to the mound tonight. Cueto has recorded three straight no-decisions and had a rough time at St. Louis in Friday's 11-8 win, as he gave up five runs in five innings. He is 9-5 in 22 starts with a solid 2.29 ERA and opposing hitters are batting .216 against him. The righty lost to the Cubs on Aug. 6 in an 11-4 setback and was hammered for five runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Cueto is 4-6 with a 3.89 ERA in 12 career starts against Chicago.

Chicago had a modest two-game winning streak stopped last night and lost for the 11th time in 16 tries.

LaHair's pinch-hit two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth was the only highlight of Chicago's offense. John Grabow was charged in the setback with two runs and four hits over two relief innings.

"I just got a good pitch to hit," LaHair said. "I've been saying it all along, I'm just trying to hit balls hard. I just let the bat do the work."

Rodrigo Lopez was reached for a pair of runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings in the no-decision for the Cubs, who hope Ryan Dempster has better results when he takes the mound in Wednesday's finale. Dempster has lost three straight starts and is winless in his previous trips to the hill -- all Chicago setbacks. He allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings during a 3-1 loss versus Pittsburgh on Friday.

Dempster, a righty, is 10-11 with a 4.75 ERA in 29 starts this season and defeated the Reds back on Aug. 5 with six innings of two-run ball in a 4-3 triumph. In 40 career appearances, 16 of which have been starts, against Cincinnati, Dempster is 7-7 to go along with a 3.92 ERA.

The Cubs won two of three meetings with the Reds from Aug. 5-7 in the Windy City and took Monday's series opener by a 4-3 score. Cincinnati has won eight of 13 meetings with the Cubs this season and owns a 20-9 mark in this series since the beginning of the 2010 campaign.