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Cincinnati 7, Chicago 2

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) catches the throw from third baseman Juan Francisco to make the out on Chicago Cubs' Marlon Byrd in the eighth inning.

    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 3 2-3 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 2 1-3 innings for the win. He allowed a pair of sixth-inning runs when Carlos Pena hit an RBI double and scored on Alfonso Soriano's groundout.

    Casey Coleman (2-8) gave up six runs, six hits and three walks in 3 2-3 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.