CHICAGO -- The Cubs got to christen their new party room Monday night. Addison Russell smacked a three-run homer in the eighth inning to lift the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Reds in the home opener in front of 40,882 at Wrigley Field."Once I hit the ball, I
CHICAGO -- The Cubs got to christen their new party room Monday night. Addison Russell smacked a three-run homer in the eighth inning to lift the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Reds in the home opener in front of 40,882 at Wrigley Field.
"Once I hit the ball, I kind of knew it was gone," Russell said. "I normally don't pimp home runs but it's Opening Night, we're down, and the occasion called for it."
Reds starter Brandon Finnegan held the Cubs hitless over 6 2/3 innings and hit his first career RBI single, but the Cubs rallied with one out in the eighth against Tony Cingrani. Ben Zobrist walked and Cingrani hit Jorge Soler with a pitch before being pulled in favor of Jumbo Diaz. Russell launched the first pitch, a 95-mph fastball, into the left-field bleachers for his first home run of the season.
"We really struggled with the first batter for each pitcher, a walk, a two-strike hit and a three-run homer for the first batters that our bullpens faced," Reds manager Bryan Price said of his bullpen, which lost both games so far for the 5-2 club. "They'll be better. It just wasn't a great night."
Jason Heyward had hit a two-run single in the Cubs' seventh to close to 3-2. Monday marked the Cubs' unveiling of their new clubhouse, which includes a designated party room for postgame celebrations.
"The party room is good and it's in effect," Russell said.
Billy Hamilton smacked a solo home run in the third that opened a 2-0 lead. He connected off Chicago starter Jon Lester, for one of five hits off the lefty, who lasted six innings in his second start of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Duv-all out effort: During Finnegan's four-pitch bottom of the first inning, the second out came via a spectacular play. Heyward hit a fly to left-center field, where Adam Duvall ran to his left and made a diving catch. It was the second-straight game of nice defense from Duvall, who helped win Sunday's game vs. the Pirates with a good throw to the plate that prevented the go-ahead run from scoring.
Start me up: The bottom of the Reds batting order hurt Lester. Hamilton homered and Finnegan hit an RBI single off the Cubs lefty. Lester admitted he was a little "over-amped" at the start of the game and overthrowing. The Reds were aggressive and made Lester work.
"The biggest thing is I kept us in close enough to come back and win, so that was huge," Lester said.
Finnegan takes no-hitter into 7th: Finnegan, in the sixth Major League start of his career, flirted with a no-hitter for the first time and threw a career-high 111 pitches. Besides the one hit, he set a career high with five walks. While pleased with his overall effort, he wished he hadn't issued so many free bases.
"Five walks isn't good," he said. "I'm definitely not happy with that. They held me up with a lot of pitches and they took a lot of good pitches I threw too. Everything was working tonight. I didn't have the life I had in the first game but everything was working well." More >
Walk this way: The Cubs drew at least seven walks for the third time this season. They began the day leading the Major Leagues in walks with 31. The patience at the plate has paid off.
"I think in the long run, if you take your walks, it will help you in the long run," Russell said. "You'll see more pitches, you'll be more familiar with the pitches the pitchers have."
"It was almost like playoff baseball, being a little cold and the way the fans were into it. We were fortunate enough to give them what they wanted and send them home happy." -- Lester
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Finnegan was the first Reds starter to allow no more than one hit over at least 6 2/3 innings since Mat Latos gave up one hit over seven innings on June 30, 2014, at San Diego.
• Hamilton records fastest HR trot
• Wrigley roars for Schwarber's on-field intro
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart exited before the bottom of the fourth inning as a precaution when he felt tightness in his lower right quadriceps and was replaced by Ivan De Jesus. Cozart, who had reconstructive surgery on his right knee last season, will get treatment on Tuesday's off-day and be re-evaluated Wednesday. More >
Reds:Alfredo Simon will get the start when the series at Wrigley Field resumes Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. ET. Simon will take a 1.66 career ERA vs. the Cubs, including a 1.04 ERA at the Friendly Confines.
Cubs: After an off-day Tuesday, John Lackey will make his second start of the season and first at home for the Cubs on Wednesday. Lackey got the win in his debut against the D-backs, but it wasn't pretty. He has a career 2.75 ERA in nine career starts against the Reds. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.
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Carrie Muskat and Mark Sheldon are reporters for MLB.com.