Homer Bailey pitched effectively into the eighth inning, Ryan Hanigan hit a three-run double and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Tuesday night to move closer to the NL Central title.
The Reds' Dusty Baker managed his 3,000th major league game, and Cincinnati reduced its magic number to four over the Cardinals to clinch the division.
Bailey (12-9) took a two-hit shutout into the eighth before Darwin Barney had his second single of the night and pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair hit an RBI double to make it 3-1. Sean Marshall then came in and hit pinch-hitter Dave Sappelt before getting a strikeout and grounder to end the threat.
Jonathan Broxton worked a perfect ninth for his third save in five chances with Cincinnati, which acquired him in a July 31 deal with Kansas City. The big right-hander has recorded 11 consecutive scoreless appearances, allowing just five hits and converting each of his three save opportunities during the streak.
Bailey (12-9) allowed four hits, struck out four and walked two while improving to 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA in four starts this month. He is 3-0 against the Cubs this season and 5-2 in his career.
Cubs starter Justin Germano was working on a shutout before he was pulled after he walked the first three batters in the sixth. Manny Corpas came in and Hanigan hit a drive to right-center with one out that cleared the bases.
Germano (2-8) lost his sixth straight start. He gave up three hits, walked five, hit two batters and threw a wild pitch.
NOTES: Baker said he had no special desire to clinch the division at Wrigley Field, where he managed the Cubs for four seasons, got them within five outs of the World Series in 2003 and was not brought back after the 2006 season. He said he just wanted to clinch as soon as possible and it doesn't matter where. ... Monday night's game between the Pirates and Cubs was delayed by storms for 3 hours, 37 minutes. The first pitch was thrown at 10:42 p.m. CDT and the game ended at 1:28 a.m. Tuesday night's game lasted 2 hours, 51 minutes. ... Cubs manager Dale Sveum said 2B Darwin Barney, who has stretched his errorless streak to an NL-record 133 straight games, is a core player for the future because his defense is a game-changing skill. ... Game 2 of the series on Wednesday night pits the Reds' Mike Leake (8-9) against Chris Rusin (1-2).