CINCINNATI (AP) — The first inning continues to plague Cincinnati starter Tony Cingrani.
He gave up two runs in the first and only lasted four innings in the Reds 9-4 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday night.
"Cingrani wasn't real sharp," Reds' manager Bryan Price said. "His velocity started to back down that last inning. I didn't think we should send him back out there and expect different results. Other than his first starts against St. Louis, he's been finding his way. We just want to make sure he's strong. He hasn't been sharp lately."
Cingrani allowed a career high six hits for the second game in a row.
"I'm just a little fatigued," said Cingrani, who lost time with back spasms last season. "I was laboring. I don't know what it is about the first inning. I've just got to pitch. My back is fine. I'll make some minor adjustments and see how it goes."
Chicago needed just three batters to take a 2-0 lead in the first on Emilio Bonifacio's leadoff single and Anthony Rizzo's 426-foot, opposite-field homer to left-center.
Todd Frazier tied the score with a two-out, two-run double in the half.
Brayan Pena hit a solo homer for the Reds, who have lost four of five.
Pena, signed by the Reds as a free agent in November, gave the Reds a 3-2 lead when he homered leading off the second — his first home run since Aug. 11. His previous NL homer was for Atlanta against the Marlins on April 13, 2007.
Nate Schierholtz drove in three runs, rallying the Chicago Cubs over the Cincinnati Reds 9-4 Wednesday night.
Starlin Castro went 3 for 4 with two doubles for the Cubs, who have won two of three following a four-game losing streak.
Edwin Jackson (2-2) beat Cincinnati for the second time this year, allowing four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. Brian Schlitter, Wesley Wright, Neil Ramirez and Hector Rondon combined for two-hit relief.
With the score 3-3 in the fifth, the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs against reliever Nick Christiani (0-1). Mike Olt hit into an RBI forceout, and Schierholtz followed with a sacrifice fly.
Schierholtz added a two-run single off Sean Marshall against a drawn-in infield in a four-run ninth.
"We've had a tough time scoring runs in bunches," said Cub's manager Rick Renteria. "Tonight was an example of what our club can do at times. I cant tip my hat enough to the relievers for helping us through. We have some really exciting arms."
Castro's single tied the score in the third.
Cingrani made 22 consecutive starts without allowing more than five hits to start his career.
Brandon Phillips had an RBI single in the fifth, his eighth hit in his last 46 at bats (.174).
NOTES: Reds manager Bryan Price confirmed that LHP Aroldis Chapman will start and pitch one inning for Class A Dayton on Thursday in the first game of his minor league injury rehabilitation assignment. Price expects Chapman to make four appearances over seven to 10 days in the minors. Chapman had a plate inserted above his left eye to heal fractures from a line drive on March 19. ... Rizzo drew a career-high four walks. ... The Cubs are scheduled to open a five-game homestand on Friday against St. Louis. The Reds are scheduled to open a four-game home series Thursday against Milwaukee, the team with the big leagues' best record.