Raisel Iglesias was close to earning his second save when he retired the first two batters in the ninth but the Cubs rallied for four big runs to win 7-3 and build steam for the playoffs with its 103rd win.
The Cubs starters were long gone when Iglesias walked Albert Almora Jr. Munernori Kawasaki singled sharply to center. Matt Szczur took a close 2-2 pitch that minor league umpire Chad Whitson called a ball. Szczur hit a hard grounder past Joey Votto to score both runners. Miguel Montero homered before Iglesias could get out of the inning.
"It's the lesson of the position that you're going to be challenged," Bryan Price said. "It won't be the last time it happens. We don't have a game tomorrow to bounce back on."
The Cubs were where the Reds are five years ago. The Reds are edging closer to where they want to be.
"I'm proud of the players," Price said. "The win/loss is nothing to brag about but I wanted the players to know that we appreciate how they battled under these conditions."
A piece of the Reds' future stated for the Reds in Robert Stephenson. He navigated dangerous waters in his sixth start Stephenson walked two and allowed a single in the first but got a double play groundball out of Addison Russell.
"It has been painful with the growing pains we had to build on," Price said. "I tip my hat to the veteran players, Brandon (Phillips), Joey (Votto), Zach (Cozart) and Jay (Bruce). We knew what the season might look like but they did a wonderful job. We lost 94 games but every win meant something."
The Reds put three on the board against Kyle Hendricks, who is likely to be one of the Cubs three playoff starters next week.
Ivan De Jesus Jr. singled with one out. Adam Duvall singled and Scott Schebler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Eugenio Suarez earned his70th RBI with a walk. Tucker Barnhart singled home two runs.
The Cubs scored in the third when Dexter Fowler walked and advanced to third on Kris Bryant's single. Anthony Rizzo grounded out as Fowler scored. Two walks and a single got the Cubs a fourth inning run.
The Reds got a run back in the fourth. Suarez doubled but was thrown out at third on Barnhart's grounder to first. Tony Renda's double scored Barnhart.
Jumbo Diaz, Wandy Peralta and Ross Ohlendorf held the Cubs until Wilson Contreras hit his 12th home run off Blake Wood.