Mahle pitched into the fifth inning, but didn’t get anybody out and left with a plug ugly line of four innings, eight runs, nine hits, three walks and six strikeouts.
The Cubs did it with zero help from Reds-killer Ian Happ and did it without a home run from Patrick Wisdom, who had homered in four straight games.
But Mahle couldn’t handle Frank Schwindel. He homered twice, had three hits, drove in three runs and scored three.
Mahle was in deep misery in the first inning. The Cubs scored three times when Christopher Morel and Rafael Ortega opened the game with singles.
Morel scored on a sacrifice fly. Schwindel reached the first row of the right field seats with a two-run homer.
The Reds came right back in the bottom of the first against Cubs starter Marcus Stroman, who needed 37 pitches to cover the inning.
Tyler Naquin and Brandon Drury opened the inning with back-to-back singles. With one out, Joey Votto singled to score the first run. Tyler Stephenson followed with a run-scoring single. The rally ended when Mike Moustakas popped out and Nick Senzel flied to left, leaving the Reds down 3-2.
The Cubs filled the bases with one out in the second. Mahle escaped by striking out Ortega and coaxing a full-count ground ball from Seiya Suzuki.
It was the last time he would escape.
The Cubs scored two in the third on back-to-back, one-out singles by Schwindel and Wisdom and a two-run triple into the right field corner by P.J. Higgins and it was 5-2.
Chicago tucked it away in the fifth with five runs. Mahle started the inning and gave up Schwindel’s second home run. When Wisdom singled and Alfonso Rivas walked, Mahle was finished.
Relief pitcher Luis Cessa, a struggler in recent appearances, struggled again. Higgins bunted to first baseman Votto and beat it when nobody covered first base. Andrelton Simmons poked an opposite field two-run single through the shift.
The ninth run scored on a ground ball. The 10th came cross on a fielder’s choice.
After Stroman gave up two runs and four hits in the first inning, he turned the spigot tightly to off. They did not get another hit off the athletic right hander, who wears uniform number 0. He pitched five innings and gave up two runs, four hits, walked two and struck out eight.
Stroman left after five with 97 pitches, but the Reds did no better against the Chicago bullpen.
Brandon Hughes and Robert Gsellman pitched 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh. Gsellman came back for the eighth, and Naquin ended a string of 13 straight retired Reds by hitting a home run.
The Cubs, who came into the four-game series having lost four of their previous five, won their second straight in this series.
They collected 15 hits, and every Chicago starter but Happ and Suzuki had a least one hit. Schwindel and Simmons had three, while Ortega, Wisdom, Rivas and Higgins each had two.
The final Reds pitcher was the ultimate surrender flag. Infielder Matt Reynolds pitched the eighth inning. He hit two batters and gave up a single and a sacrifice fly to make it 11-3.