Stephens drives in 2 in debut, Reds beat struggling Cubs 5-3

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 01: Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs reacts at the end of the first inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 1, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

CINCINNATI — Right-hander Jackson Stephens lasted five innings in his major league debut and drove in the go-ahead runs with a bases-loaded single on Saturday, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-3 victory over the struggling Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs’ fourth loss in five games dropped them to 40-41, well off their pace from a year ago (51-30) when they were on their way to an NL Central title and a World Series championship.

Stephens (1-0) gave up a solo homer by Jon Jay and a two-run shot by Willson Contreras. He was called up to help the Reds fill an opening in the rotation created by Brandon Finnegan’s arm injury.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth, Stephens singled up the middle off Eddie Butler (4-3) for two runs and a 4-3 lead, smacking his hands together as he reached base with his first major league hit. He gave up six hits and struck out eight in five innings.