Cubs ride five-run second inning to victory


by - Associate Editor -
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Cubs ace Kyle Hendricks was solid in the 7-5 win, allowing only six hits while striking out four.

CHICAGO -- Despite being outhit nine to six, the Chicago Cubs were able to ride a quality start from Kyle Hendricks to victory on Wednesday night. Scoring five runs in the second inning, the Cubs took the lead near the start and never relinquished it after that, going on to win 7-5.

Reds shortstop Zack Cosart, who seems to play his best against the Cubs, put the Reds on the board early with an RBI single that scored speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton from second. Hamilton led off the game with a hit to right and an ensuing steal of second base. Hamilton currently leads the majors with 20 steals. That lead quickly evaporated for Cincinnati, as the Cubs scored five runs to blow the game wide open in the bottom of the second.

With former Cub Scott Feldman on the mound for the Reds, the veteran quickly lost his composure in the second frame. After walking Cubs starlet Ian Happ to start the inning off, a single then put runners on the corners. Shortstop Addison Russell took advantage by adding his 17th RBI of the year on a fielder's choice groundout that scored Happ.

Thereafter, Feldman walked and hit batters, loading the bases with two outs. Leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber then came through in the clutch with a two-run single to right, which was followed two at-bats later by a bloop RBI single off the bat of Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Both players finished with two RBI on the night.

Cozart continued his solid play by starting the third inning with a solo home run, making the score 5-2 in favor of the Cubs. He went 3-4 with two RBI at the dish. However, the Cubs added to their lead in the bottom of the third, as second baseman Ben Zobrist, who was 2-3 in the game, doubled to deep left and was later scored on a sacrifice bunt by Hendricks. Another run came in thereafter because of an RBI single by right fielder Jon Jay, and Feldman was pulled from the game.

The Cubs held onto their 7-2 advantage for as long as Hendricks (3-2, 3.35) remained in the game. He ended up pitching six innings of six-hit ball before manager Joe Maddon stuck to his usual guns of taking him out before his pitch count grew too high. Hendricks's replacement, reliever Mike Montgomery pitched well to begin with, forcing the Reds into two quick groundouts. Cincinnati put together a two-out rally, though, capped off by left fielder Adam Duvall getting one of his two hits on the evening with an RBI single to left.

Pedro Strop was next called upon in relief, but he faltered, too, giving up a double to Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez that scored two and made the score 7-5. The Cubs had an opportunity to add to their lead in the ninth, as Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias loaded the bases on three walks, but they failed to do so. Closer Wade Davis made the missed chance moot, though, by shutting down the Reds in the top of the ninth to secure the 7-5 win and earn his ninth save.

Tonight's matchup marked the second consecutive high-scoring affair of this three-game series between the Chicago Cubs (20-19) and the Cincinnati Reds (19-20). The Cubs will look to claim the series sweep tomorrow afternoon, as they are seemingly in the process of rejuvenating their offense and getting on the winning track.




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