Ryan Ludwick and rookie Todd Frazier both homered during a five-run fourth inning on Friday and the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Chicago Cubs, 7-3, in the opener of a four-game series.
Bronson Arroyo (9-7) got the win, giving up three runs on nine hit with three walks and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. He also doubled and scored on Zack Cozart's Tobago in the fourth.
Jay Bruce added a solo homer and Drew Stubbs had an RBI triple for the NL Central-leading Reds, who took three of four games from the Cubs last weekend.
Travis Wood (4-9) dropped his career-high sixth straight decision, allowing seven runs -- six earned -- on nine hits over five innings. He did not issue a walk, struck out three, and added an RBI single.
Luis Valbuena hit a solo home run for the Cubs, who are just 3-13 in their last 16 games dating to July 31.
"We swung the bats well," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Their pitchers made a couple nice plays to change a couple of innings around. Other than that, I was pretty happy the way we swung the bats. We just didn't get much to show for it."
The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday before closing the set on Sunday.
Valbuena's leadoff shot put the Cubs up 1-0 in the second, but Frazier singled in the bottom half and crossed the plate courtesy of Wood's error. With two down, Ryan Hanigan slapped a grounder towards first base and the covering Wood failed to catch the toss from Anthony Rizzo, allowing Frazier to score from first.
Chicago went on top again in the fourth, which began with a base hit from Starlin Castro. Brett Jackson's one-out single put runners on the corners before Castro scored on a wild pitch. After Steve Clevenger walked, Wood singled up the middle for a short-lived, 3-1 advantage.
Ludwick led off the home half with his 23rd homer of the season. After Bruce was hit by a pitch, Frazier launched his 16th into the seats in left- center. He leads all NL rookies with 51 RBI.
Later in the frame, Arroyo doubled with a shot to the wall in left- center. Cozart followed with a line drive, Tobago to left before Stubbs ripped a triple into the corner in right, making it 6-3.
"That was a big five-run inning for us, especially down 3-1," Frazier said. "That was huge."
Bruce hit his 25th homer of the year in the fifth.
Arroyo left with runners on first and second in the seventh and Jose Arredondo induced a fly out and a groundout to escape.
Jonathan Broxton stranded a pair in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman faced the minimum in the ninth, as the Reds improved to a major league-best 25-9 since the All-Star break.
The Cubs, meanwhile, have lost eight straight road games dating to July 25.
The Reds are expected to recall pitcher Todd Redmond to start the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader. It will mark the major league debut for Redmond ... The Reds are 22-9 since Joey Votto left the lineup on July 16 ... Chapman induced three straight groundouts in the ninth. It marked just the second time in 54 appearances that he didn't strike out a batter ... Wood hasn't recorded a win since July 6 against the Mets.