The Chicago Cubs continued their late-season surge at the expense of the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Friday afternoon, opening a season-ending six-game series with a 6-1 victory behind seven sharp innings from Adrian Sampson.
Nick Hoerner drove in half the runs during a pair of early three-run uprisings that allowed the Cubs (71-86) to coast to the 13th win in their last 17 games, the best record in the National League since Sept. 12.
Sampson (4-5) has spearheaded the run with a brilliant September in which he went 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA over six starts. He capped the month allowing the Reds (60-97) just three hits and one run over his seven innings. He walked two and tied a season high with six strikeouts.
The only run off Sampson came from Jake Fraley's home run to lead off the second inning, his 12th. It gave the Reds a 1-0 lead.
Erich Uelmen and Rowan Wick wrapped up a four-hitter for the Cubs with a scoreless inning apiece, giving Chicago four straight games in which it has allowed two or fewer runs.
The Cubs took charge for good in the bottom of the second against Reds starter Graham Ashcraft when Ian Happ singled, Franmil Reyes doubled and both came home on Hoerner's double. Christopher Morel's two-out RBI single made it 3-1.
Chicago ended Ashcraft's day in a three-run third, when two runs scored on Spencer Steer's throwing error on Hoerner's bases-loaded grounder. Yan Gomes capped the scoring with a double.
Ashcraft (5-5) was charged with six runs (five earned) on six hits in 2 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out one. Connor Overton followed with 5 1/3 innings of two-hit, shutout relief.
Happ had two hits and scored twice for the Cubs, who improved their season-series edge over the Reds to 8-6. Hoerner also scored twice, while Gomes collected two hits.
Fraley had three of the four hits for the Reds, who dropped their fourth straight.
--Field Level Media