- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - The Cincinnati Reds are banking on big things from Cody Reed and they’re willing to wait out a rough start to his career.

Reed struggled through four innings and the Reds lost for the 11th time in 13 games, falling 10-4 to the Chicago Cubs on Monday.

The Reds fired pitching coach Mark Riggins in an effort to shake up a staff with the majors’ worst ERA, then continued their slide.

Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez hit back-to-back home runs for Cincinnati in the seventh inning. But the Reds committed two errors and Reed (0-3) struggled again on the mound.

The left-hander gave up eight runs - four earned - and five hits in four innings after getting pounded at home by the Cubs last week. He also walked three and hit two batters with pitches as his ERA remained 9.00 after four career starts.

“I don’t think it’s mechanical,” Reed said. “I just think it’s probably between the ears a little bit. I’m frustrated with myself, but you can’t stay frustrated. You’ve got to put stuff like this behind you. I’ve had four bad starts and I just have to think the fifth will be better.”

Cubs slugger Kris Bryant hit his NL-best 24th home run before leaving with a bruised leg. Willson Contreras and Addison Russell also went deep for Chicago.

Playing the NL Central’s last-place team was just what the major league-leading Cubs needed after getting outscored 32-11 in a four-game sweep by the Mets in New York.

“The power of 24 hours,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We had a tough stay in New York City.”

It looked a whole lot easier against a Reds team that could challenge the franchise record of 101 losses.

Bryant hit a two-run shot in the second inning and scored three times before exiting with a bruised lower left leg in the fifth. He was hurt making a catch in left field when center fielder Albert Almora Jr. ran into him.

Matt Szczur batted for Bryant in the bottom of the fifth. Bryant would have stayed in had the game been closer and should be fine for Tuesday, Maddon said.

Almora said he didn’t hear Bryant calling for the ball and took responsibility for the collision.

“I came in after the game and I tried to find him,” Almora said. “He’s doing all right. I gave him like 15,000 hugs.”

Contreras capped a three-run second with a solo drive off Reed that made it 6-0. Russell drove in three runs and scored two.

Kyle Hendricks (7-6) gave up an unearned run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings as the Cubs started a four-game homestand on a winning note after going 4-7 on their longest trip of the season.

GOING DEEP

The Cubs, who swept three games in Cincinnati last week, scored three runs in each of the first two innings.

Bryant’s towering drive to center in the second left him two homers shy of his total last season on the way to winning the NL Rookie of the Year award. He connected after going deep six times during the 11-game trip.

Contreras’ homer to left was his fifth since being called up from Triple-A on June 17.

IN ORDER

Chicago OF Jason Heyward responded with a solid day at the plate after being dropped from second to sixth in the batting order. He had a two-run double and finished with two hits.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: Manager Bryan Price said he hopes to have RHP Jumbo Diaz (sore right ankle) available on Tuesday. “The swelling’s out and it’s still tender to the touch,” Price said before the game. “I don’t really need him today.”

Cubs: OF Dexter Fowler (strained right hamstring) said he is feeling better but is not sure if he will return before the All-Star break. He was eligible to come off the disabled list Monday. Maddon did not rule out the possibility that Fowler’s first game back could be the All-Star Game.

UP NEXT

RHP John Lackey (7-4, 3.27 ERA) looks to get back to winning for Chicago, while Reds LHP Brandon Finnegan (3-7, 4.48) tries to bounce back from the shortest start of his career. Lackey is 0-2 in his past four starts, though he pitched into the seventh in a no-decision against the Mets last week. Finnegan gave up eight runs in 2 1/3 innings against Washington.

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