CHICAGO (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds aren't hitting much and their bullpen is tired. Mat Latos made sure they wouldn't need much of a contribution from either area to beat the slumping Chicago Cubs.
Latos pitched eight scoreless innings, and Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to lead the Reds to a 2-0 win over All-Star Travis Wood and the Cubs on Monday night.
Latos, 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA since the All-Star break, allowed six hits and struck out nine for the Reds, who gained a half-game on idle Pittsburgh and St. Louis in the NL Central.
Latos (12-3) gave the Reds' bullpen a much needed rest after Cincinnati used six relievers for a combined six innings of work Sunday in a 3-2, 13-inning win over San Diego. He also helped pick up an offense that has scored just six runs in three games.
"I had real good stuff," Latos said. "I was able to rely on the fastball and the slider all game. I threw one other pitch beside the fastball and the slider."
Cincinnati left fielder Ryan Ludwick returned from the disabled list and went 0 for 3. He had been out since April 1 when he tore cartilage in his right shoulder while sliding headfirst into third base against the Los Angeles Angels.
Though Ludwick didn't produce much, Latos didn't need anything else. When Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth inning for his 28th save in 32 tries, Cincinnati had its 10th win in 12 games over the Cubs this season.
The Reds are 13-1 in their last 14 games at Wrigley Field. They also continued the Cubs' home scoring woes.
Chicago has gone 32 2-3 innings without scoring a run at Wrigley Field, and was shut out there for the third straight game. That hadn't happened since Aug. 20-21, 1924.
"It's funny. We're scoring in bigger parks and stuff on the road and we can't seem to muster up anything at home," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We have no slugging percentage at home right now."
Cincinnati didn't have much of a slugging percentage, either, against former Reds pitcher Travis Wood.
Wood (7-9) posted his 20th quality start but took the loss. He went eight innings and allowed Phillips' homer among four hits. Wood struck out four and walked only one, but the Cubs lost for the 11th time in 15 games.
"That was big, Brandon's home run, because Woody was dealing on the other side, too," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That guy has given us kind of the blues."