Cubs Recap: Chicago trounces Cincinnati behind Austin Jackson


The Chicago Cubs got a strong start from Jon Lester and five runs batted in from Austin Jackson in a 10-3 rout of the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday night.

Scoring in six of their nine trips to the dish, Chicago (93-65) poured it on after striking out six times in their first eight at-bats against Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani.

The Cincinnati right-hander was charged with five earned in five innings of work, although he did notch six punchouts in the loss. His counterpart, however, was lights-out in his final tune-up before the postseason begins next week.

Lester (11-12, 3.34) scattered just three hits and allowed just one earned run – punching out nine in an outstanding start. Right-hander Neil Ramirez allowed a pair of runs in the ninth, but finished things off to close out the Cubs’ fourth-straight victory.

At the dish, Jackson was outstanding, going 3-for-5 with five RBI to pace the Chicago offense, but it was infielder Starlin Castro who once-again stole the show for Joe Maddon‘s club.

Castro went 4-for-5 with three runs and two RBI out of the five-spot for the Cubs – continuing his torrid pace in the season’s second-half. The young middle infielder has been one of the team’s most valuable assets down the stretch and is all but guaranteed a starting spot in next week’s NL Wild Card Game.

Trailing 1-0 in the top of the third, Jackson doubled to score Lester and leadoff man Kyle Schwarber for the first blow against DeSclafani. In the next inning, shortstop Addison Russell singled to drive in a run, one of three hits on the night for the youngster.

The Jackson-Castro show continued all night-long; Jackson doubled again in the fifth, plating a run – and Castro’s 11th homer of the year in the sixth made it 5-1 Cubs. From there, the Chicago offense blew it wide open late, scoring five times between the final two innings.

A bases-loaded walk to Chris Denorfia made it 6-1 before a two-run single from Jackson capped the scoring in the eighth. Doubles from Castro and Russell in the ninth accounted for the team’s final two runs, allowing the team to cruise to a ‘W.’

As a team, Chicago tallied 16 base hits on the night – and now sits at 19-9 in the month of September.

What’s Next:

Right-hander Jason Hammel (9-7, 3.86) will look to help the Cubs finish off the sweep on Thursday afternoon against Cincinnati (63-95). He will be opposed by left-hander John Lamb (1-4, 5.40).

First pitch is set for 11:35 a.m. CT.

Next: Should the Cubs kick the tires on bringing back Samardzija?