CHICAGO (AP) Jorge Soler came through big and helped the Cubs rally for a win after ace Jon Lester struggled in his second start with Chicago.
Soler had a pair of two-run home runs - including a game-tying shot in the eighth inning - and Arismendy Alcantara had an RBI single in the 10th to lift the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
Soler, 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBIs, was the talk of the locker room after the game.
''His power is just ridiculous,'' Lester said. ''He's so young, he's so raw. He's got a long way to go, and he's pretty good now.''
Soler's performance took the focus off of a shaky outing by Lester, who gave up six runs and 10 hits in six innings as his ERA ballooned to 7.84.
''He's still at the end of spring training right now,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''He'll be fine. I have no doubt about that.''
Lester, who missed time in the spring with an injury, added: ''I don't want to use anything as a crutch. I've got a lot of work to do.''
Brandon Phillips had four hits for the Reds, while Marlon Byrd and Jay Bruce each drove in two runs. Cincinnati was up 6-3 and starter Mike Leake handed the bullpen a two-run lead after seven innings, but the Reds' relievers failed again.
''I think we're certainly capable of throwing the ball better than we have to this point, by far,'' manager Bryan Price said. ''We should expect more as we move on into the season. I think we have enough talent here to be certainly a lot more consistent than we have been.''
Hector Rondon (1-0) gave up two hits in the top of the 10th to pick up the win.
Anthony Rizzo led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a walk against Manny Parra (0-1). Price decided to stay with the left-handed Parra against Soler. After a wild pitch moved Rizzo to second, Soler singled to left on a 3-2 pitch with Rizzo stopping at third. Chris Coghlan (3 for 4, including a solo homer) walked to load the bases with no outs and chase Parra.
Burke Badenhop came on and got Starlin Castro to ground into a force play at the plate, and Alcantara followed a sharp grounder up the middle and past the drawn-in infield.
Alcantara, 0 for 16 until then, got his first hit of the season and his first career walk-off hit.
The win also move the Cubs two games over .500 for the first time since 2009.
Reds: C Devin Mesoraco stayed in Cincinnati to undergo an MRI on his ailing left hip. ... OF Billy Hamilton didn't start because of what the team described as general soreness.
Cubs: 2B Tommy La Stella hasn't played since April 8 because of a strain in his right side. If La Stella doesn't improve soon, a stint on the disabled list is likely. ... 3B Mike Olt (sore right wrist) originally was in the lineup but was scratched about 90 minutes before the game.
BRYANT CALL UP SOON?
With La Stella and Olt hurting, the Cubs may have the cover they need to call up top prospect Kris Bryant later this week when his service time no longer is an issue.
''Maybe,'' president Theo Epstein said. ''We'll see.
''His performance last year and in spring training showed that he was really close and now we're more likely to go get him sooner rather than later. They just started, though. We're trying to get him in a good rhythm down there.''
Before Monday, Bryant had homered in his last two games for the Iowa Cubs.
The series continues Tuesday night with the Cubs' Jake Arrieta (1-0, 0.00) looking for his second win of the season against RHP Anthony DeSclafani (0-0, 3.00). Arrieta is 2-1 in three career starts against Cincinnati, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning twice.