Cubs take rubber match versus Reds for second consecutive win


by - Senior Writer -
Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

CINCINNATI — After ending a 12-game losing streak on Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs (54-69) are now on a two-game winning streak following their victory over the Cincinnati Reds (65-57) on Wednesday. Adrian Sampson made his Cubs debut on the mound after getting called up prior to the game and produced a four-inning start in which he gave up just one run. Tyler Mahle, on the other hand, got taken for five runs in his five-inning start, and the Cubs went on to win 7-1, taking 2-of-3 at Great American Ball Park.

Ian Happ, who played his college ball for the Cincinnati Bearcats, has a knack for hitting the ball when playing in the Queen City, and he put the Cubs on the scoreboard with a first-inning solo home run, giving him two homers in two games. The 427-footer to right came with two outs and occurred two at-bats after Rafael Ortega flied out to the warning track in right. Sampson went 1-2-3 through the first, and David Bote drew a leadoff walk in the second. In his first start as a Cub, Michael Hermosillo hit his first big league dinger since 2018 with a 441-foot bomb to left-center that plated Bote.

Robinson Chirinos followed Hermosillo's long ball with a base knock and moved to second on a one-out sacrifice bunt by Sampson. With two outs, Ortega plated Chirinos with a single, and Frank Schwindel brought Ortega home via a double. As a result, Schwindel tied a Cubs rookie record by hitting an extra-base hit for the seventh straight game. With his team trailing 5-0, Tyler Naquin put the Reds on the board with a two-out solo shot in the second. The 415-foot jack to center was followed by a pair of singles, but Sampson prevented the Reds from scoring any additional runs.

Matt Duffy kicked off the third with a single, and Bote then reached due to a throwing error committed by second baseman Jonathan India. India made multiple nice defensive plays on the afternoon, including his valiant effort to glove Bote's grounder before making the errant throw, but his off-target throw placed runners at the corners with no outs. Mahle proceeded to collect three outs in a row, though, keeping the score at 5-1.

Joey Votto hit a ground rule double with one out in the third, but Bote then produced a defensive highlight by snagging a liner hit by former Cub Nicholas Castellanos and doubling off Votto at second to end the inning. Naquin hit a two-out single in the fourth, and a successful Reds challenge resulted in Jose Barrero reaching on a hit by pitch. Sampson finished off his start by striking out Tucker Barnhart and stranding the two baserunners. Hermosillo was plunked by Mahle with two away in the fifth, but Chirinos then struck out.

Manuel Rodriguez breezed through the fifth, sitting the Reds down in order, and Sergio Alcantara led off the sixth with a solo round-tripper to right, the Cubs' third home run of the contest. Jeff Hoffman gave up the homer, and he was also taken for a one-out double by Ortega that did not lead to any runs scoring. Rodriguez, who struck out three in two innings of work and earned his first-ever winning decision in the majors, walked Aristides Aquino with two outs in the sixth but tossed another scoreless frame. Duffy hit another leadoff single in the top of the seventh, which ended with Hoffman forcing Hermosillo to ground into a double play.

Rowan Wick worked around a one-out walk of Barnhart in the seventh, and the Cubs went three up, three down with Sean Doolittle pitching the eighth. Adam Morgan struck out a pair as part of a 1-2-3 eighth, and erstwhile Cub Justin pitched the ninth. Ortega and Schwindel walked prior to Happ ground into a double play. Ortega then scored from third on a bunt single by Duffy. Trevor Megill gave up a two-out double to Barrero in the ninth but was able to finish the job and put a bow on the Cubs' 7-1 rubber match triumph. By way of their first series victory since July 23-25, the Cubs have now won consecutive games for the first time since July 16-17.

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