CINCINNATI -- All Michael Barrett wanted was a routine hit to break a scoreless tie. With one graceful swing, he got a whole lot more.
Barrett's grand slam in the seventh inning sent Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs to a 4-2 victory Saturday over the Cincinnati Reds, who had trouble getting Chicago's catcher out for the second consecutive night.
Henry Blanco drove in three runs during a 6-5 victory Friday that snapped the Reds' eight-game winning streak. Barrett's two-out slam off Esteban Yan put the Cubs in line for their second straight win.
"What can I say?" Barrett said. "Those things happen when you least expect them."
Zambrano (5-3) did what the Cubs have come to expect, shutting down one of the NL's most prolific offenses. The right-hander gave up four hits in 7 2/3 innings, including Ken Griffey Jr.'s solo homer, pitching just a little bit better than left-hander Brandon Claussen.
Claussen (3-7) left a scoreless game with the bases loaded in the seventh, then watched from the dugout as everything turned on one pitch. Yan, obtained from the Angels on May 30, came in to face Barrett, who hit his second pitch off the facing of the upper deck in left field.
It was Barrett's eighth homer of the season and his third career slam. He also hit one off Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen on April 10.
"That was a huge hit from Michael," manager Dusty Baker said. "It was major decision time in the game for everybody."
Griffey led off the Reds' eighth with his 547th homer, leaving him one behind Mike Schmidt for 11th on the career list. Griffey also had a double off Zambrano in his first at-bat.
Cubs closer Ryan Dempster, who threw 35 pitches during a wild ninth-inning save on Friday night, had a few more tense moments. He gave up an RBI single to Brandon Phillips before retiring Griffey and Rich Aurilia to end it, getting his 11th save in 14 chances.
Zambrano has rebounded from his poor April -- 0-2 in six starts -- by going on his best streak of the season. He's 5-1 in his last eight starts, and has been particularly hard to hit the last two times out.
The right-hander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning Monday before Preston Wilson singled with one out -- Houston's only hit off Zambrano in the Cubs' 8-0 victory. The Reds didn't have much more success, managing only two hits through the first seven innings.
"I'm pitching right now," said Zambrano, who threw a season-high 126 pitches. "At the beginning of the season, I was throwing the ball. That's the big difference."
Claussen wasn't surprised to be pitching in a close game. More often than not, the Reds' offense has a tough time when he's on the mound. In seven of his 13 starts, Cincinnati has scored two runs or less, leaving him no margin for error.
"I felt like I kept us in the game," Claussen said. "Unfortunately, you've got to catch the breaks sometimes. I didn't catch a break tonight."
The left-hander gave up five hits and threw 114 pitches before he was replaced by Yan. In seven career starts against the Cubs, Claussen is 1-6 with a 6.75 ERA.
Griffey helped keep it scoreless until the seventh with the game's best defensive play, slamming into the wall to catch Barrett's fly to center in the fourth inning. Griffey hit his back hard on the padded wall, but held onto the ball and stayed in the game.
Right fielder Austin Kearns was back in the Reds' lineup, a day after a cramp in his hamstring forced him out of the game. Kearns went 0-for-3 with a walk.
- RHP Carlos Marmol will make his first major league start Sunday against the Reds, filling in for injured RHP Kerry Wood.
- Cubs CF Juan Pierre snapped an 0-for-16 slump with a third-inning double.
- Narron was back after missing one game to attend his daughter's graduation.
- C David Ross was 0-for-4, ending his 12-game hitting streak.
- The Reds commemorated the 62nd anniversary of Joe Nuxhall's historic big league debut. Nuxhall was only 15 years old -- the youngest player in modern major league history -- when he pitched in relief for the Reds. Nuxhall, who was recently treated for pneumonia, rode around the field on a cart before the game.