Joe Maddon gets win No. 1000 as Cubs outslug Reds


by - Associate Editor -
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Cubs manager Joe Maddon won the #1000 win of his managerial career

CHICAGO -- Home runs were aplenty on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, with the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds combining to hit seven of them. Led by rising superstar outfielder Ian Happ, who hit his first career home run at the Friendly Confines, the Cubs scorched Reds starter Bronson Arroyo and other members of the Cincinnati pitching staff en route to a 13-hit 9-5 victory.

In a rematch of a pitching duel from late last month, both starters struggled early, with Arroyo digging himself an early hole. Cubs starter John Lackey gave up a home run to Reds shortstop Zack Cozart in the top of the first, fitting the early-inning struggles that have come to define Lackey's season thus far. However, the Cubs were quick to erase that deficit, as rookie third baseman Jeimer Candelario converted a bases-loaded situation into an RBI single. Two at-bats later, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras smacked a ground rule double that bounced over the wall in center to score two, putting the Cubs up 3-1.

Walking two batters and giving up hits to three others in the opening frame, Arroyo faltered out of the gate and never fully recovered from it. Lasting only five innings, in which he gave up eight hits and five runs, Arroyo was taken deep by leadoff Chicago hitter Kyle Schwarber in the second. Schwarber has struggled in the leadoff spot thus far this season, hitting a lowly .187, so that homer, Schwarber's sixth long ball of the season, could potentially rejuvenate him.


Schwarber's round-tripper answered a solo shot by Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart in the top of the second, the backstop's first home run of the year. The Reds added another run in the fourth under far different circumstances, as Arroyo swung at a third strike that should have ended the inning, if not for the fact at the third strike came on a wild pitch by Lackey. Arroy was able to take first, while Reds second baseman Jose Peraza scored from third. One of only a few hiccups for Lackey (4-3, 4.37) on the night, the veteran produced his second consecutive quality showing by pitching 5.1 innings of seven-hit ball and earning a win because of it.

Helping Lackey's cause was rookie sensation Happ, who hit his second home run in just his third big league game. Blasting a homer to left-center off of Arroyo in the fifth, Happ accrued his third RBI of 2017 and put the Cubs up 5-3. Happ's fourth RBI occurred in the proceeding inning, as he was walked with the bases loaded to bring in a run. Earlier in the bottom of the sixth, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant hit an RBI double to left that increased the Cubs' advantage to three runs.


After Happ was walked, the Cubs held a comfortable four-run lead, as their big inning off of Cincinnati reliever Blake Wood saw them go up 7-3. The Reds would not go away quietly, however. First baseman Joey Votto, who went 2-4 on the evening, hit a two-run home run off of Cubs reliever Koji Uehara in the top of the seventh to pull the Reds to within two. Carrying forth with the nightly trend, though, the Cubs had an answer. Chicago shortstop Addison Russell, with his lone hit of the game, batted his third home run of the season on a solo blast to right-center to start the bottom of the seventh.


Standing pat with the lead, the Cubs held onto their advantage much tighter in the matchup's final innings. Rizzo decided to participate in the home run party by crushing one of his own in the eighth, a solo shot to right that marked the slugger's seventh homer of 2017. In a non-save situation, Cubs closer Wade Davis then took care of business in the top of the ninth to lock up the Chicago victory.

The Cubs (19-19) were able to outmatch the Reds (19-19) on Tuesday at the plate, coming out on top in the 23-hit slugfest. Interestingly enough, with four solo home runs by Chicago on the evening, 18 of the Cubs' last 21 home runs have been solo shots. Adding to the significance of the game was the fact that the 9-5 win gave Cubs skipper Joe Maddon his 1,000th career victory, a major milestone for one of baseball's most well-respected managers.


The Cubs will look to continue their hitting dominance tomorrow night in part two of the three-game affair with the Reds. First pitch is slated for 7:05 PM CST, as Kyle Hendricks of Chicago will face off against former Cub and current Red Scott Feldman on the hill.

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