Jack Hannahan clubbed a pinch-hit three-run homer and five Cincinnati pitches combined to shut out the Chicago Cubs, as the Reds got their playoff push back on track with Wednesday's 6-0 win at Great American Ball Park.
Devin Mesoraco went 3-for-4 with a solo home run for the Reds, who dodged being swept at home by the Cubs for the first time in 12 years.
Cincinnati is now three games behind the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals and two games back of second-place Pittsburgh for the wild-card lead.
Reds starter Mike Leake picked up his career-high 13th win of the season after limiting the Cubs to four hits in 5 2/3 innings. Leake (13-6) struck out six and overcame bouts of wildness as indicated by four walks.
"Our pitching all-around has been doing a very good job," Leake said. "You never feel like we're gonna blow it. It's nice to have that confidence behind everyone."
The struggles continued for Chicago's Jeff Samardzija (8-12), who was tagged for six runs on eight hits and walked three in 5 2/3 innings. Samardzija has given up 17 runs during his last three outings.
"Other than the two home run balls, there wasn't really hard contact all day long," said Chicago manager Dale Sveum.
The Cubs outscored Cincinnati 11-1 over the first two games of this series to put themselves in position for their first sweep in Cincinnati since May 28-30, 2001 at Cinergy Field.
Cincinnati got on the board in the second with groundouts by Xavier Paul and Zack Cozart each plating a run. Jay Bruce singled to lead off the inning and went to third on a Todd Frazier double.
Mesoraco's one-out blast to left made it 3-0 in the fourth, and Hannahan broke the game open with the first pinch-hit homer of his career. A two-out infield single by Mesoraco put men on the corners in the sixth for Hannahan, who crushed a Samardzija offering to right field.
Cozart had his career-high hitting streak snapped a 15 games after going 0- for-4 ... Cincinnati finished 14-5 against the Cubs this year ... The Cubs' 14 losses to the Reds are the most to a team in a single season since going 4-14 against Pittsburgh in 1990.