At 40, Bronson Arroyo gave the best performance during his long comeback, pitching three-hit ball over six innings Sunday as the Cincinnati Reds salvaged a 7-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Arroyo (2-2) allowed Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer — his third of the series — and struck out seven batters for the first time since May 13, 2014. The lanky right-hander has needed more than two years to recover from Tommy John surgery.
Raisesl Iglesias gave up a pair of runs in the ninth before finishing off the Reds' 3-7 homestand.
Patrick Kivlehan's bases-loaded double highlighted a four-run sixth inning off John Lackey (1-3) and decided a matchup of up-in-years starters. The 38-year-old Lackey and Arroyo have combined for 793 starts in the majors.
Despite the loss, the defending World Series champions took two of three in the series and moved back into first place in the NL Central. No surprise that it happened in Cincinnati — the Cubs have won 17 of their last 22 at Great American Ball Park. They've taken 20 of their last 25 overall against the Reds.
Rizzo extended his hitting streak to 12 games — matching his career high — with his two-run homer in the fourth inning. His three-run shot with two outs in the ninth helped the Cubs rally for a 6-5, 11-inning victory in the series opener. He had another three-run homer during a 12-8 win on Saturday.
The Cubs have homered in their last 15 games at Great American. They hit seven in all during the series.
Arroyo worked fast, varied the angles of his deliveries, and kept 'em guessing with his minimum-speed pitches. Jon Jay saw pitches of 67, 74, 83, 75 and 70 mph during one at-bat. The Cubs made contact with his first seven pitches of the game, fouling off four of them.