CHICAGO – Daniel Murphy’s two-run homer in the second inning was the first clue that Luis Castillo wasn’t hitting his spots Saturday.
Kyle Schwarber’s two-run homer in the fourth was the second clue.
Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman didn’t need a third one.
"Sometimes the hitters will let you know if you're missing with your spots and they take advantage of it," Riggleman said of Castillo. "They were on him pretty good."
The first-place Cubs went on to a 10-6 win and put themselves in a position to sweep the four-game series on Sunday. The last-place Reds are 1-5 on their road trip.
If there was any good news for the Reds, it was on the injury front. The Reds activated Scott Schebler (sprained right shoulder) before the game. Schebler batted leadoff and went 1 for 5.
And Joey Votto might answer the call Sunday. Votto (lower right leg) ran sprints on the field before the game. Riggleman said a decision on Votto wouldn’t be made until Sunday morning.
Castillo (7-11) allowed five runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings. Javier Baez added a solo shot for the Cubs, who built a 10-2 lead before Curt Casali hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning. Preston Tucker added a pinch-hit homer for Cincinnati, which has dropped four straight.
Murphy homered for a second straight day and is batting .407 (48 for 118) with nine homers in 31 career regular-season games at Wrigley - all but three of them before he joined the Cubs in a trade this week. His batting average is the highest among active players with a minimum of 100 at-bats at the ballpark.
"I don't know," Murphy said when asked to explain his success. "I just know, day games, if I'm able to get this old body going, I feel like I see the ball better during the day."
Chicago has gone deep in 10 consecutive games, amassing a total of 17 homers during that stretch.
Jose Quintana (11-9) allowed two runs on six hits in five-plus innings - walking three and striking out two - to get his first win since Aug. 3.
an Happ drove in the Cubs' first run with a two-out single in the second, and Murphy followed with a two-run shot for a 3-0 lead. After Cincinnati got a pair of runs in the top of the fourth, Schwarber's two-run shot in the bottom of the fourth restored the three-run advantage and chased Castillo.
Baez hit a solo blast in the fifth, and Anthony Rizzo's run-scoring single in the sixth made it 7-2. Chicago added three unearned runs in the seventh.
Before being dealt to the Cubs, the 33-year-old Murphy had never been traded. He said he's felt at home - and not just because of the on-field success.
"I feel like I've been really comfortable, and that's a testament to the front office, the ownership and to the guys in this clubhouse and the coaching staff," he said.
USING BOTH HANDS
Kris Bryant normally releases his top hand on his swing, but trainer PJ Mainville suggested the slugger keep both hands on the bat to reduce stress as he rehabbed from left shoulder inflammation.
Bryant likes the two-handed approach so much he said he plans to use it when he returns to the lineup. "It feels good to me," he said. "I feel a lot more powerful. I'm hitting the ball farther."
Reds RHP Homer Bailey (1-11, 6.21 ERA) faces RHP Kyle Hendricks (9-10, 4.04) in the finale of the four-game series on Sunday. Bailey is 0-4 with a 5.22 ERA in five starts since coming off the DL in late July, and Cincinnati is 1-16 in his 17 starts this season.
Hendricks is 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA in six career starts against the Reds at Wrigley.