Morning Marquee: Miguel Montero, Dexter Fowler down Reds

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Just a day after clubbing a three-run shot in Detroit in the 12-3 win over the Tigers, Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero drilled his second three-run blast in as many games Thursday evening to spark the 6-3 victory with the Cincinnati Reds in town.

Montero was behind the dish for starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada who attempted to redeem himself after a nightmarish outing while visiting the Washington Nationals last week in our Nation’s Capital. Skipper Joe Maddon pulled Wada following Chris Dominguez‘s lead-off big fly to left field that cut Chicago’s lead down to one run.

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Wada allowed three earned runs on four hits with two free passes and four strikeouts. He started off strong by striking out former Cub Ivan de Jesus‘s son then gave up a two-run triple to the opposing pitcher, Michael Lorenzen during the top half of the second.

Outfielder Dexter Fowler picked things up in the third inning, lifting a pitch that found its way into the right field bleachers, pushing the Cubs lead up to two runs. With the Cubs leading by only three when heading into the eighth inning, it wasn’t clear which Pedro Strop or Hector Rondon we would see.

This bullpen has been all over the place – being lights out during a stretch of games to faltering late, blowing leads and being unable to record key outs the very next day. Thankfully, both the set-up man and closer were able to get the job done, bringing this club only six games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the N.L. Central and ending Cincinnati’s four-game winning streak.

While the Cubs attempt to climb the ladder in the division, the third-place Pittsburgh Pirates have been right on their tails as of late to tighten things up before the All-Star break in July. Before the season began, I personally, fully expected the Bucs to be that team who would keep up with the Cubs, finishing in either second or third place, leaving the Milwaukee Brewers and Reds to fight for fourth.

But yet again, it’s still early and anything could happen between now and the end of the season. All I know is, it’s great to see this team sitting six games above .500.

Here’s more from around the league:

San Francisco Giants win series, Mets take finale in walk-off‘ – Around The Fog Horn

Cincinnati Reds’ Four-Game Winning Streak Snapped By Cubs‘ – Blog Red Machine

Washington Nationals Lose A Tough One to the Brewers‘ – District on Deck

On the clock? Search for ’16 draft class begins‘ – MLB

Philadelphia Phillies ramp up effort to deal Papelbon‘ – ESPN

Next: Montero, Bullpen Leads Cubs To Win

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