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Chicago Cubs: Willson Contreras grand slam leads offense in 12-8 win

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Apr 22, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras hits a grand slam home run during the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras hits a grand slam home run during the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs took the second game of a three-game series in Cincinnati, beating the Reds by a score of 12-8 in a wild contest.

The Chicago Cubs won their fourth game in a row, beating the Cincinnati Reds 12-8 after Friday’s extra-innings comeback win. The Cubs had only nine hits on the day but managed to push  a dozen runs across. This is thanks, mostly, to a trio of home runs.

It was a short day for Reds starter Cody Reed (1-1, 6.30), who struggled mightily with his command. The left-hander went two innings, giving up seven earned runs on four hits and five walks, striking out three. Reed started the game by walking Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant, and then gave up a three-run home run to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

After the Cubs took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Reds quickly tied things up when Joey Votto belted a three-run home run to right center in the bottom of the first. In the same inning, Eugenio Suarez hit a solo home run to left, giving the Reds a 4-3 lead.

Back and forth all afternoon long

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But that lead wouldn’t last long.

With the bases loaded in the top of the second inning, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras sent a no-doubter over the center field wall for his first career grand slam. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Contreras is the third Cubs player to hit a grand slam at Great American Ballpark since the start of the 2016 season. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez were the other two.

If not for Contreras’ big day, Jason Heyward would have been the player of the game. Heyward went 2-for-4 with four RBI and scored twice. He homered for the second straight straight game with a three-run shot in the sixth inning. Heyward’s productive day also included an impressive sliding catch in right field, that started a double play.

The Reds made a comeback effort late in the game, scoring three times in the final two innings. Brien Duensing’s Cubs career is off a rough start. To-date, he carries an unsightly 10.13 ERA after allowing a pair of tallies Saturday.

Rough day for Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta (3-0, 3.65) didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday even though he received the win, giving up five runs (four ER) on eight hits and no walks, striking out eight across six innings of work. Four of the five runs scored against Arrieta came from Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who ended up with five RBI on the day.

One encouraging thing to take away from Arrieta’s shaky day was an uptick in his velocity. It wasn’t quite what we’re used to seeing from Arrieta in his first couple of starts. But Saturday’s game saw his fastball velocity reach 95 mph, which is more in line with what he usually reaches.

Next: Bryant extension talks have gone nowhere

What’s next

The Cubs will have a chance to get the sweep tomorrow. The finale features another matinee in Cincinnati at 12:10 PM CT. It’ll be a veteran pitching duel between John Lackey (1-2, 4.00) and Bronson Arroyo (1-2, 8.40).

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