Happ hits pivotal three-run blast to lift Cubs over Reds


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Outfielder Ian Happ won the game for the Cubs with a critical three-run bomb in the seventh. (Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)
Outfielder Ian Happ won the game for the Cubs with a critical three-run bomb in the seventh. (Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Coming into Friday's game between the Chicago Cubs (86-61) and the Cincinnati Reds (63-85) at Wrigley Field, Cubs outfielder Ian Happ was in the midst of a nine-day hitless streak. Getting the start in center field on the night and batting ninth, Happ quickly made the fans at Wrigley Field forget about his recent slump with one swing of the bat in the seventh inning. Jacking a three-run shot with the Cubs trailing 2-0, Happ provided the Cubs with their lone runs of the ballgame as part of a 3-2 Cubs win over the Reds.

All of the scoring in the contest was done via the home-run ball, as the Reds smacked back-to-back solo home runs off Cubs ace Cole Hamels to lead off the fourth frame. Hamels earned a no-decision for a start defined by one rough inning. Pitching 6.2 innings, in which he gave up eight hits and struck out seven, Hamels was lucky to escape the top of the fourth having given up just two runs.

Following consecutive homers by Jose Peraza and Joey Votto, respectively, the Reds quickly put two runners in scoring position. Cubs left fielder Kris Bryant booted a single, and the error led to the Reds boasting men on second and third with no outs. Hamels was able to collect three straight outs after that, though, including a tag out at the plate on a throw home by shortstop Javier Baez.

The Reds failed to score the rest of the way, leaving a total of 22 runners stranded on the evening. Cincinnati was aided by a solid start on the bump by Matt Harvey, who threw six shutout innings and fanned six batters. Harvey was arguably pulled too soon, as his replacement, reliever David Hernandez, gave up the critical dinger to Happ in the seventh.

Following a leadoff single by Victor Caratini to start the bottom half of the seventh, David Bote reached base as a result of a fielding error by Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez. Following a fielder's choice groundout, Happ stepped up to the plate and attained his 15th long ball of the year on a 398-footer out to left that brought with it a deafening roar from the Wrigley faithful.

Later, in the top of the ninth, veteran Cubs pitcher Jorge De La Rosa obtained his first career save by keeping the Reds, who garnered a one-out double and a two-out walk in the inning, at bay. A few other milestones were reached by way of the Cubs' 3-2 triumph. Rookie Cubs pitcher Dillon Maples received his first big-league win, and Cubs manager Joe Maddon became the highest-winning Cubs manager ever through the first four seasons on the job.

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