Cubs mash their way to eight straight wins
Mancini had his second homer of the spring against the Reds (Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports)

Cubs mash their way to eight straight wins

by - Senior Writer -

MESA - Don't let people tell you that Spring Training doesn't matter. Granted, the stats and overall record may not matter, but these games do matter when it comes to the Cubs. This is a team that many people expect to be vastly improved, and the Cubs are eager to show their mix of youth and veteran leadership will pay off this season.

You are starting to see some of that success right now, as this team has been clicking for the better part of a week. Trailing 5-0 early after Hunter Greene shut the offense down, the Cubs offense came to life in the sixth and used three homers to take the lead for good. They added a pair of runs later in the game and topped the Cincinnati Reds 8-6 for their eighth straight victory.

While Greene may have been doing his thing on the mound, Jameson Taillon took the ball for the Cubs and was making his third start of the spring. Taillon has been pretty good for the most part this spring, but the long ball has been an issue for him. That was a problem for him again on Thursday. With Kevin Newman and TJ Friedl setting the table with singles, the Reds raced out to a 1-0 lead in the first after a rare error allowed for the game's first run to score.

On the verge of getting out of the inning with limited damage, Taillon tried to sneak a fastball by Luke Maile only to see him deposit it over the left-center field wall to extend the lead to 3-0. For as good as Greene was, he did struggle a little bit in the first inning as he walked Ian Happ and Dansby Swanson only to bounce back with a pair of punchouts to end the first.

The home run ball continued to bite Taillon in the second as another two-out long ball extended the lead to 4-0. This one came from former Chicago Cubs farmhand Jason Vosler who dropped it over the left-field fence. Taillon recovered nicely to retire the final four hitters he faced, but the damage was done as he allowed four runs in three innings of work.

First out of the pen for Chicago was the hard-throwing Danis Correa, who was called upon to pitch the fourth. Correa got off to a good start and retired the first two hitters he faced before running into a bit of trouble. A walk to Alejo Lopez, followed by the Stuart Fairchild single, put runners on the corners for the Reds. Correa continued to hurt himself as a wild pitch extended the Reds lead to 5-0.

Apart from the first inning, the Cubs didn't have much going against Greene, but the two-out Yan Gomes double in the fourth gave them some life, only to be turned away. Greene was finished after the fourth inning, which was a breath of fresh air for the Cubs and their offense.

If the Cubs wanted a chance to come back in this one, it would be up to the bullpen to keep it close, and that they did, allowing just one run in the final five frames. Michael Fulmer and Rowan Wick were the first to set the table as they picked up a pair of strikeouts in two innings.

After a scoreless fifth inning for Levi Stoudt, the Cubs offense finally showed signs of life in the sixth and erupted for a massive inning. A leadoff single from Happ got the party started ahead of the Trey Mancini long ball to end the shutout.

Singles from Eric Hosmer and Luis Torrens kept the pressure on while Patrick Wisdom unloaded for his first spring homer to tie things up 5-5.

One pitch later saw Christopher Morel give the Cubs the lead for good as he played long ball to cap off the sixth run frame with the Cubs now leading 6-5.

Brandon Hughes continued the scoreless streak for the Cubs despite allowing a pair of baserunners as it was time for the offense to get back to work. Leadoff walks are the biggest Achilles heel in baseball, and after Mike Tauchman led the seventh off with a walk, the Cubs were in business.

He would come around to score later in the inning on the two-out double from Torrens, with Sergio Alcantara adding an RBI single to extend the lead to 8-5. That would be all the offense the Cubs would need as the Reds did pick up a run off of Julian Merryweather in the ninth, but it wasn't enough to take down the Cubs, who won again 8-6.

Mancini and Torrens led the way with two hits as the Cubs pounded out 10 hits in the win. Wisdom paced the offense with three RBIs, with Mancini adding two and Morel, Torrens, and Alcantara picking up one. The Cubs staff walked three and struck out 10 as their pitching continued to the job when called upon.

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