The Chicago Cubs rebounded from a four-game sweep over the weekend by launching some fireworks of their own in a 10-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on July 4 at Wrigley Field.
Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, and Addison Russell smacked home runs to back Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, who allowed just one run on four hits across 5 1/3 innings of work Monday, helping Chicago (52-30) snap its longest skid of the season.
Hendricks (7-6) was staked to an early lead thanks to three-run first and second innings against Cincinnati left-hander Cody Reed, who was roughed up by the Cubs offense for the second time in less than seven days.
Following a walk and a Contreras hit-by-pitch, Russell smacked the first pitch he saw from Ross through the left side, scoring Bryant and giving Chicago an early lead. The next batter, Jason Heyward, who was moved to the six-hole for the first time this season prior to the opener, followed with a two-run double off the left-field wall, pushing it to 3-0 Chicago.
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Things didn’t get any better for the Reds from there, as the Cubs’ offense plated two or more tallies in four of their eight trips to the dish, combining for an even dozen hits on the afternoon.
After lead-off man Javier Baez reached via error with one out in the second, Bryant unloaded on the first pitch he saw, making it a 5-0 ballgame with his league-leading 24th home run of the season. Two batters later, Contreras followed suit with a blast deep into the left-field bleachers for his fifth home run.
Hendricks, meanwhile, continued yet-another very strong start to a season, lowering his earned run average to a very solid 2.61 clip, striking out just two but walking just one.
A two-run error by Eugenio Suarez allowed Chicago to really pile it on in the fourth and it was the aforementioned Russell long-ball that capped the scoring for the North Siders, who improved to 10-1 against the Reds in 2016.
The foursome of Carl Edwards Jr., Travis Wood, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon finished things off, all posting scoreless outings with the exception of Wood, who was tagged for three runs in an inning of work.
What Stood Out:
With his ninth home run of the season, Russell is already closing in on his career-high in long-balls (13), which he set last year. The 22-year-old infielder is coming off a month in which he badly struggled, batting just .214/.333/.405.
A productive Russell will go a long way in helping the Chicago offense get rolling, much the same as Heyward’s improved bat will.
Things You Need To Know:
Bryant left the game in the fifth after colliding with Albert Almora Jr. on fly ball hit to left-center field. Both players finished the inning but Maddon removed his young slugger for “precautionary” reasons – namely a bruise on his left leg.
What’s Next: Chicago (52-30) will continue the set against Cincinnati (30-54) on Tuesday afternoon at the Friendly Confines. Veteran John Lackey (7-4, 3.27) will toe the rubber opposite Brandon Finnegan (3-7, 4.48).
First pitch is set for 1:20 p.m. The game will be carried by CSN Chicago and MLB Network and, as always, the radio call with Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer can be heard at 670 WSCR-AM.