Kyle Schwarber's first-inning dinger sparks Cubs in win over Reds


by - Senior Writer -
Providing the Cubs with an early advantage versus the Reds, Kyle Schwarber powered out a 3-run bomb in the first inning. (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)
Providing the Cubs with an early advantage versus the Reds, Kyle Schwarber powered out a 3-run bomb in the first inning. (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Avoiding an offensive letdown after scoring 47 runs in the 3-game sweep of their preceding weekend series, the Chicago Cubs (82-68) remained hot at the plate and scored eight runs on 10 hits and five walks on Monday. The Cubs won the opener of their 3-game set at Wrigley Field against the Cincinnati Reds (70-81) by a final score of 8-2, with the North Siders never trailing after Kyle Schwarber smacked a 3-run home run in the opening frame.

Cubs starting pitcher Cole Hamels lasted just 3 1/3 innings one the mound. Hamels gave up a modest two runs, but the Reds routinely struggled with men on base in the early goings. Overall, the Reds went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, while the Cubs were a solid 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position. After walking in a run in the top of the third, Hamels collected a pivotal inning-ending strikeout to minimize the damage. Not long after giving up a leadoff ground-rule double in the top of the fourth, Hamels was pulled, and a sacrifice fly that came later in the inning resulted in a run charged to Hamels being scored.

Meanwhile, Schwarber crushed a 397-foot 3-run jack in the bottom of the first to give the Cubs an early 3-0 lead. Reds starting hurler Kevin Gausman made it through just two innings of work before he was yanked. Cincinnati relied on six different relief pitchers the rest of the way. In addition to getting it done at the plate, Schwarber pulled off a stellar diving catch in left field after the aforementioned ground-rule double, thereby potentially preventing the Reds from putting together a big inning.

The first three batters of the bottom of the sixth all reached base for the Cubs, including Jason Heyward, who lofted an RBI double that put the Cubs up 4-2. An RBI groundout by Ben Zobrist scored Chicago's second run of the sixth frame, and the Cubs went on to manufacture a 3-run eighth inning, which essentially iced the game. In the eighth, Heyward scored from second base when Reds reliever R.J. Alaniz threw the ball out of play after fielding a comebacker.

Soon after an ensuing pitching change, Nicholas Castellanos tabbed his 55th double of the season when he cranked a 2-run 2-bagger to deep center field, thus resulting in the 8-2 final tally. On the day after Cubs reliever Brad Wieck notched his first career winning decision, Alec Mills, who pitched two scoreless innings out of the Cubs' bullpen, joined Wieck by earning the first win of his young career. As a result of the victory, the Cubs assured themselves of finishing with a winning record. The Reds, on the other hand, were officially eliminated from playoff contention because of the loss.

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs
Sep 16, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cincinnati (70-81) 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1
Chicago (82-68) 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 - 8 10 0
W: Alec Mills (1-0) L: Kevin Gausman (3-9)

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