SWEEP! The Cubs just swept the Reds in a four-game set at Wrigley with a 9-0 victory behind a stellar outing by Kyle Hendricks, and an offensive explosion. This is the first time the Cubs have swept a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley since 1945!
You probably remember the Cubs four-game series against the Pirates last week in which the Cubs scored a total of four runs. Despite splitting the series, they looked extremely frustrated at the plate.
What a difference a week makes! The Cubs scored a total of 29 runs over this four-game series against the Reds, including a walk-off win in ten innings on Friday.
Let's get into today's action! The Cubs struck right away with three runs in the bottom of the 1st off of Reds starter Homer Bailey. Daniel Murphy led off the inning with a single. Next up was Javier Baez who reached base on an error by Reds shortstop Jose Peraza, who couldn't get the force at second base. With two men on and nobody out, Anthony Rizzo grounded out, which resulted in an out at second, but made for men on the corners with only one out. Willson Contreras stepped up and grounded out, but that allowed Daniel Murphy to score and advanced Rizzo to second while putting the Cubs up 1-0. But, Jason Heyward wanted some insurance as he smacked a ball to center for a triple, scoring Rizzo, and putting the Cubs up 2-0. The Cubs got their last run of that inning on a single by David Bote.
The Cubs gave Kyle Hendricks plenty of cushion to lean on, but he ended up not even needing it. Hendricks threw seven dominating and scoreless innings of two-hit ball, both of which were singles. He only walked one and struck out five in one of his best, and most commanding starts of the season. Kyle has been having un uncharacteristically shaky year, so this was encouraging to see! With the win he notched today, his record is 10-10.
Hendricks kept dealing, and the Cubs kept scoring! They put up a two spot in the bottom of the 3rd inning where David Bote absolutely CRUSHED a ball onto Waveland, putting the Cubs up by five. Then in the 5th, Anthony Rizzo doubled with one out in the inning, and once again came home on a hit by Jason Heyward. Jason had a four-hit game today and has really been one of the Cubs' most consistent hitters.
The Cubs took a 6-0 lead into the 7th inning where they added three. That inning started with a double by Anthony Rizzo. One out later, Jason Heyward hit a single which landed Rizzo at third. David Bote struck out swinging for out number two. The Cubs got a free run when Reds reliever Robert Stephenson balked, bringing home Rizzo, and putting the Cubs up 7-0. With a man on came up Kyle Schwarber who drilled a ball to center for a two-run homer, and the Cubs took a commanding 9-0 lead. That was Schwarber's second home run in as many days.
That was it! The Cubs got the lead early and never looked back, barely even breaking a sweat. The Reds got their one and only extra-base hit in the 9th when it didn't really matter.
The Cubs are hot right now, having won five in a row. One big weapon in this stretch has been the long ball. Including today's game, the Cubs have homered in a season-high 11 straight games dating back to August 15. Along with great performance by Kyle Hendricks and a nice performance by the offense, Randy Rosario represented the bullpen in the final two innings where he shut down the Reds.
The Cubs just wrapped up game six in a stretch where they will play 23 games in 23 days. Their next scheduled off day is isn't until September 13 which is right before the Reds visit again. It's going to be a strenuous stretch, but the Cubs really have the opportunity to keep a strong presence atop their division.
Tomorrow, the Mets come into town for three games. In game one, we'll have Jon Lester against Noah Syndergaard at 7:05 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago. The Cubs will look to continue gaining ground, and chipping away at that magic number!
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