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CIN@CHC: Votto hammers a two-run homer to widen lead

CHICAGO -- The Reds don't just keep beating the Cubs. They're beating them badly.

After a 12-2 rout on Tuesday night -- to say nothing of Monday's ho-hum 6-2 victory -- Cincinnati has only furthered its dominance over its division rival. Cincinnati has now won a franchise-best and Wrigley Field record of 11 straight games at at the Friendly Confines, and 18 of 21 overall against the Cubs dating back to last year.

It's now nine of 11 this season, with a run differential of 51-36.

"For some reason, we do like playing here in Chicago," said third baseman Todd Frazier, who hit his first home run since April 24 on Tuesday. "Like we're happy-go-lucky here. It's pretty fun. It gets us back on that winning track. We've got two more to go, and we're trying to get that sweep for sure."

After a war of words following Matt Garza's last outing against the Reds -- he was displeased when Reds ace Johnny Cueto nearly hit David DeJesus in the head with a pitch -- he promised the Cubs would not retaliate. Tuesday, it was certainly the Reds who got the last laugh.

Whatever it is, there's something about Wrigley Field that seems to cure what ails the Reds. They came to the North Side after a discouraging home series loss to the first-place Cardinals over the weekend, and have outscored the Cubs, 18-4, in the first two games.

Frazier snapped a 131-at-bat homerless streak with his solo homer in the first, and Zack Cozart's three-run shot in the eighth was his first since May 8.

In between, Joey Votto hit a two-run homer to make it 3-0 in the third and Xavier Paul hit a three-run blast as part of a six-run sixth that stretched the lead to 9-2. Jay Bruce, who went 3-for-5, also had a two-run double in the sixth.

Garza was chased without retiring a batter in that inning, and he surrendered a career-worst nine earned runs on the night.

"It was impressive the way they did it," Garza said. "Frazier hits a ball one-handed out of the yard, opposite field. Votto inside-outs a pitch on the black. He hits it out of the yard. It's just the way it fell tonight. Paul yanks a fastball down and in, and it lands right on the outside part of the chalk line. Then Jay Bruce inside-outs a ball and it lands on the left-field ... chalk line. It's one of those nights -- you just brush it off and get ready for the next five."

Garza said there was no extra incentive to beat Cincinnati on Tuesday after what happened the last time he faced them.

"I know everybody made a big deal out of the whole 'Cueto vs. me' thing, but it was over the day I left [Cincinnati]," Garza said. "Today was go out there and try to put up the best I can and give my team a chance to win, and definitely that didn't happen."

Reds starter Tony Cingrani, starting in place of the injured Cueto, fared much better than his counterpart in the left-hander's first Major League start since April 17. It was his third start -- and first win -- against the Cubs as he moved to 3-0.

Cingrani struck out five, while walking one and scattering four hits. He also went 2-for-2 at the plate with a bunt and infield single.

"Cingrani was outstanding tonight. He showed his improvement that he went down to work on," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He threw some quality breaking balls, changeups."

The Reds have now won 16 of their last 23 road games, with a little help to their home away from home in the Windy City.

"It's a nice count," Baker said.

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