To sweep a doubleheader, as they say, you've got to win the first game.

With that in mind, the Reds sent Johnny Cueto out to pitch Game 1 of the day-nighter against the Chicago Cubs. Cueto wasn't his usual dominating self, but he was good enough to beat the Cubs 4-2 before a crowd of 17,371 Tuesday afternoon.

Cueto (9-6) went 6 1/3 innings and allowed the two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out four.

"I'm happy with what I did today," Cueto said. "But I thank my teammates. They picked me up."

Manny Parra, in particular. Parra came in with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh and left the runners on.

The Reds have won four of five to open the 10-day, 11-game homestand. The victory put them within 4 1/2 games of the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers -- for the time being at least. That's as close as the Reds have been to first place since April 18.