CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 17: Ryan Ludwick #48 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home run during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on August 17, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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CINCINNATI (AP) - Todd Frazier hit a two-run home run, Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce added solo shots, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 7-3 on Friday night in the opener of a four-game weekend series.
Bronson Arroyo survived a shaky start to improve to 5-1 in his last six starts. Arroyo (9-7) gave up nine hits and three runs with three walks, three strikeouts and a wild pitch in 6 1-3 innings.
Jose Arredondo, Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman combined to pitch scoreless relief the rest of the way.
Cincinnati, coming off a loss to the New York Mets on Thursday that snapped a five-game winning streak, began the day leading the NL Central by six games.
The Reds had six extra-base hits in five innings against streaky former teammate Travis Wood (4-9), who has lost his last six decisions after winning four straight starts.
Luis Valbuena led off the second with his fourth homer of the season and first since June 29 against Houston. His 418-foot fly into the right-center field seats gave Chicago a 1-0 lead.
The Reds tied it in the bottom of the inning when Frazier scored from second on Wood's error as he tried to handle first baseman Anthony Rizzo's throw on Ryan Hanigan's grounder.
Chicago capitalized on another Reds fielding misplay to take a 3-1 lead in the fourth. After Castro led off with a single and Valbuena flied out, Brett Jackson hit a line drive to second baseman Brandon Phillips that got away from him after he appeared to be distracted by the passing Castro.
Castro went to third on what was ruled a single and scored on a wild pitch to Steve Clevenger, who then walked. Wood drove Jackson in from second with a single to center for the pitcher's first RBI of the season.
The Reds then got five runs and six hits in the bottom half of the inning, starting with Ludwick's 23rd homer of the season, a 425-foot drive into the left field seats on Wood's first pitch of the inning. Wood hit Bruce with a pitch, and Frazier gave the Reds a 4-3 lead by hitting a 2-2 pitch 419 feet into the left field seats for his 16th homer of the season.
Cincinnati added two runs with two outs on doubles by Arroyo and Zack Cozart and a triple by Drew Stubbs.
Bruce hit Wood's 0-1 pitch 411 feet into the right-field seats with one out in the fifth for his 25th homer of the season.
The streaky Wood, traded with two other players by Cincinnati to Chicago for pitcher Sean Marshall during the offseason, lasted five innings, getting roughed up for nine hits and seven runs -- six earned -- with three strikeouts.
NOTES: RHP Todd Redmond is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Saturday to start the second game for the Reds in their split doubleheader against the Cubs. Redmond, acquired from Atlanta for INF Paul Janish on July 14, has been recalled three times by two teams this season, but he's still waiting to make his major league debut. ... The Cubs are expected to recall LHP Brooks Raley from Triple-A Iowa to face Redmond. ... Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan flipped the coin to determine who would serve first for Friday's Western & Southern Open tennis quarterfinal match between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber in suburban Cincinnati.
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