CHICAGO -- After a rough start in the majors, Rich Hill is now dominating big league hitters.
Hill (6-6) struck out 10, fanning Edwin Encarnacion to end the Cubs' first complete game of the season.
Hill became the first rookie to pitch a shutout for the Cubs since Kyle Farnsworth did it on Aug. 29, 1999, at Los Angeles.
After starting this season 0-4, Hill was demoted to Triple-A Iowa.
"You go through a learning curve and it just depends on when you go through your ups and downs. Before it was a lot of downs and I learned a lot. I went down to Triple-A, I got it together and came back and now I'm throwing the ball with a lot more conviction and confidence," said Hill.
Hill was 7-1 for Triple-A Iowa this season with a 1.80 ERA.
"He didn't go down there and pout or anything, he went down there and pitched, which is what you want everyone to do," said Cubs manager Dusty Baker.
Hill walked one and hit a batter in his first career complete game and third straight win. The 26-year-old lefty has allowed just four earned runs in his last five starts for an 0.97 ERA.
"Boy, it's been a long time since we've had a complete game and a shutout," said Baker.
Cincinnati lost for the 14th time in 20 games since moving into a virtual tie with St. Louis for the NL Central lead on Aug. 24. The Reds began the day 3½ games behind San Diego in the wild-card race.
"You play all season to come down to this last month and be in the race and we are. We're playing ourselves out of it right now but we're still in it. This team, if it gets hot, we could be all right. Even though there's only 16 or 17 games left," catcher David Ross said.
The Reds have not won consecutive road games since beating Philadelphia Aug. 12-13.
Chris Michalak (1-3) pitched 4 2/3 innings in a spot start and allowed two earned runs and seven hits.
Aramis Ramirez drove in two runs. The Cubs won for just the seventh time in 27 games and have the worst record in the league.
Ryan Theriot walked and stole second in the fifth. Ramirez followed with a single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.
Reds manager Jerry Narron was pleased with Michalak's outing.
"He was fine. He worked out of a jam. They had the bases loaded with no outs and he got out of it. Which was great. He did everything he could. There were a couple of plays we didn't help him with that hurt. He pitched well," said Narron.
Jones homered off Reds reliever Bill Bray in eighth inning. It was his 25th of the season.
- RHP Carlos Zambrano will start for the Cubs on Sunday. He missed his last two starts because of a sore back.
- Cubs 1B Derrek Lee missed his second straight game to tend to a family emergency, leaving his status for Sunday's game in doubt.
- Reds hitting coach Chris Chambliss was suspended for Saturday's game for leaving the dugout after being ejected on Thursday night in a 4-2 loss to San Diego.
- Reds star Ken Griffey Jr. was out of the lineup for the 10th straight game with a dislocated second toe on his right foot.
- Clayton left the game after getting hit by a pitch in the eighth inning.