Rapid Reaction: Reds 4, Cubs 2

CHICAGO -- The bullpen couldn’t hold a late lead Saturday as the Chicago Cubs fell 4-2 to the Cincinnati Reds.

How it happened: The Reds rallied with three runs in the eighth inning off Cubs reliever James Russell to take the victory. Cubs starter Travis Wood pitched well in his first outing against his former club, giving up one run on five hits over seven innings. The Cubs scored their two runs in the second inning on a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded from David DeJesus.

What it means: Russell might be showing signs of vulnerability after he has been leaned on heavily this season. The left-hander made his 56th appearance, which was tied for second most in the National League. The leader at the start of play Saturday was Russell’s bullpen-mate Shawn Camp, who had 57 appearances. Russell not only took the loss Saturday, he also had a blown save at Los Angeles last weekend when he allowed his two inherited runners to score.

Outside the box: Wood tied a career high with eight strikeouts. He did it two times previously with both of those with the Reds instead of against them like he did Saturday. The last time Wood struck out eight batters in a game was Sept. 14, 2010 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Off beat: Cubs manager Dale Sveum showed how much he respects Wood’s hitting ability when he let the pitcher come to the plate in the seventh inning even though he wasn’t going to pitch in the eighth inning. Wood had already reached the 99-pitch mark. It didn’t turn out well. Wood struck out in the seventh inning to end an 0-for-3 day at the plate with two strikeouts, and Russell gave up the lead in the eighth.

Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Brooks Raley (0-1, 15.75 ERA) to the mound for his second career start in the finale of a four-game series. The Reds will counter with right-hander Johnny Cueto (14-6, 2.58) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.