Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, left, forces out Cincinnati Reds' Yorman Rodriguez (33) at second base during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014 in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
CHICAGO (AP) — Kyle Hendricks kept up his impressive rookie season, pitching seven strong innings as the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-1 Wednesday night for a sweep.
Chris Valaika, Ryan Kalish and Luis Valbuena each had a run-scoring hit as the Cubs won their third straight. They improved to 38-36 at Wrigley Field despite being 16 games under .500 overall.
The Reds have dropped four in a row overall. They scored just one run in the three-game series against the Cubs, and were held to one hit in a shutout loss Tuesday night.
Hendricks (7-2) allowed one run and seven hits. He walked none, struck out four and left with a 2.28 ERA.
The right-hander, who wasn’t promoted to the majors until July, bounced back nicely from his last start where he allowed four runs in six innings in an 11-1 loss at Toronto.
Hector Rondon pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances.
Daniel Corcino (0-1) lost in his second big league start.
The Reds, with a makeshift lineup of mostly backups, didn’t waste any time jumping on top. Leadoff batter Kristopher Negron started the game with a double and later scored on a grounder by Yorman Rodriguez.
But that would be all the Reds could manage against Hendricks. Their best scoring opportunity after the opening inning came in the seventh when, with two on and two out, Negron hit a liner towards the left-field wall that Chris Coghlan caught before running into the ivy.
The Cubs scored twice in the second. Jorge Soler walked and later scored on a single by Valaika. Kalish hit a double to center that appeared to score two runners, but Valaika was sent back to third when the ball was lost in the ivy for a ground-rule double.
Reds: 1B Joey Votto (left knee) continues to make progress and the hope is he can return to the lineup before the end of the season.
Cubs: CF-2B Arismendy Alcantara missed a second straight game with a mild sprain of the right wrist. He is listed as day-to-day.
Reds: Off on Thursday before continuing the road trip Friday night in St. Louis. LHP David Holmberg (1-1, 6.00) pitches the opener for the Reds.
Cubs: Host the NL West-leading Los Angeles on Thursday in the first of a four-game series. LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (4-3, 3.34) takes on RHP Zack Greinke (15-8, 2.64) in the opener.