Cincy wins despite losing Cueto early

CINCINNATI — Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and Cincinnati overcame the loss of pitcher Johnny Cueto to beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 Wednesday night.

Cueto, the major-league leader with a 2.31 ERA, left after 32⁄3 innings because of a strained muscle in the upper right side of his back.

The right-hander was visited by a trainer and pitching coach Bryan Price with one out in the fourth inning. After getting Alfonso Soriano to pop out, a trainer and Dusty Baker went to the mound, and the manager removed Cueto.

Cueto, who allowed three hits, will be re-examined Thursday. He didn't make his first start of the season until May 8 because of irritation in his right upper arm.

Inheriting a 5-0 lead, Sam LeCure (1-1) pitched 21⁄3 innings for the win. He allowed a pair of sixth-inning runs when Carlos Pena hit an RBI double and scored on Soriano's groundout.

Casey Coleman (2-8) gave up six runs, six hits and three walks in 32⁄3 innings. Since winning at Florida on May 19, he is 0-5 with a 7.98 ERA in eight big-league starts and two relief appearances, a span that included three trips to the minor leagues.

Hernandez's 12th homer of the season but first since Aug. 5 put Cincinnati ahead, and Juan Francisco hit a two-run double in the second.

Chris Heisey added a solo homer in the eighth off Ramon Ortiz, his 16th.

■ Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro went 2-for-3 to extend to 27 his streak of consecutive games in which he's reached base.