CINCINNATI — Edinson Volquez made a triumphant return to the mound and Miguel Cairo cranked a grand slam Tuesday night as the Cincinnati Reds rocked the reeling Chicago Cubs 8-2.
The Cubs, 1-6 against the Reds this season, lost their season-high eighth game in a row, and their 11th in 13 games. They also have lost five in a row at Great American Ball Park, four of those this season.
The Reds, 5-3 on a nine-game homestand, will try to close Wednesday with a three-game sweep of the Cubs.
The Reds recalled Volquez, their opening-day starter who struggled so mightily that he was sent down to the Louisville Bats, to start Tuesday. The right-hander, who last pitched for the Reds on May 22, came back with a crewcut — his first haircut in two years, he said.
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Volquez (4-2) gave up one run on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out five.
"I think I did a good job tonight," said Volquez, who also knocked his first hit of the season, a single. "Seven innings, two walks. That's what I try to stay away from, walking people."
The Reds backed him and the bullpen by turning three double plays.
Cairo blew the game open with his slam in the seventh.
Jumping on a 1-1 John Grabow offering, Cairo deposited his second career slam into the left-field seats, a drive estimated at 406 feet.
"Just trying to see the ball, hit it hard somewhere," Cairo said. "I got lucky. He threw the pitch (a changeup) that I was looking for and over the plate, and I hit it hard."
That expanded a 4-1 lead to 8-1.
That must have seemed insurmountable to the Cubs, who have scored two or fewer runs in five of their last six games. Especially with Volquez in control.
"He threw a great ball game," Reds Manager Dusty Baker said. "He got in trouble that one inning but got out of it with the bases loaded. His command was pretty good, took us deep in the ballgame. He was locating his fastball a lot better. That's the Volquez we knew from before."
Back-to-back doubles by Aramis Ramirez and Blake DeWitt to open the second gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Chicago went on to load the bases with two outs, but Volquez got Darwin Barney to ground out.
"I feel like I'm not going to go deep in the game because the second inning was a long one — 30 pitches," Volquez said. After that (pitching coach) Bryan Price come to me and talked, 'keep pitching and keep the ball down and you're going to go deep into the game.' That's what I did."
The Reds would go on to score their 18th come-from-behind win of the season.
Joey Votto went 1-for-3 and drew a bases-loaded walk. He has reached safely in 59 of 61 games and has hit safely in seven consecutive games.
Jay Bruce also went 1-for-3, extending his hitting streak to nine games.
Drew Stubbs went 2-for-4, his 24th multi-hit game of the year.
■ With Volquez being recalled from Class Triple-A, the Reds optioned right-handed pitcher Daryl Thompson to Louisville. The Reds also transferred left-hander Aroldis Chapman from Louisville to Double-A Carolina to continue his rehabilitation assignment. ... Barney and DeWitt each had three of the Cubs' 10 hits. ... Scouting the series for the San Diego Padres is Tates Creek High School graduate and former big-league pitcher Kevin Jarvis.