CHICAGO -- On Wednesday night, the Cubs didn't need to take advantage of the hitter-friendly 24-mph south wind at Wrigley Field. Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo each hit two-run singles to spark a five-run second inning and lift the Cubs to a 7-5 victory over the Reds, who lost their
CHICAGO -- On Wednesday night, the Cubs didn't need to take advantage of the hitter-friendly 24-mph south wind at Wrigley Field. Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo each hit two-run singles to spark a five-run second inning and lift the Cubs to a 7-5 victory over the Reds, who lost their fifth straight, although not without a fight.
"No home runs, even though the wind was blowing out that hard, but we were able to push a lot of runs right there and it was good," Schwarber said.
Kyle Hendricks finally won at home, doing so in his fifth start at Wrigley. The right-hander, who won nine of his 15 starts at home last season, scattered six hits over six innings. He helped himself with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt in the third to drive in Benjamin Zobrist, who had doubled and moved up on a fielding error by Adam Duvall.
"[Hendricks] knew that he was right tonight, and that's a great game to build off of," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "The wind was blowing out a gale, and pitching as well as he did, there's a lot of confidence to be derived from that."
Reds starter Scott Feldman, making his first career start against his former team, exited after throwing 80 pitches over 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander was coming off two quality starts, including a complete game. This is the fifth time in nine games he could not go past five innings.
Abbreviated outings aren't helping the Reds, whose rotation ranks last in the National League in innings pitched and ERA. In the last five games, Reds starters have served up 20 runs over 23 2/3 innings.
"I just didn't execute on pitches today," Feldman said. "When you're facing any lineup, but especially a lineup with some pretty good hitters like the Cubs have, you have to be able to hit your spots and make pitches. I just didn't do that today. I dug us in a hole, and the guys battled back and made a game of it. It was not an ideal way to start the game out."
Despite getting a three-run seventh inning to close the gap amid stellar bullpen work, the Reds are mired in a season-high five-game losing streak, their first such losing streak since dropping five in a row last Sept. 4-8.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Speed racer: After Reds speedster Billy Hamilton singled to lead off the game, the Cubs thought they had him in a rundown between first and second, but Hamilton was too quick and deftly slid under the tag by first baseman Rizzo. Hamilton then stole second and scored on Zack Cozart's single. Hendricks did get Hamilton in the second, striking him out to end the inning and strand two runners.
"You have to try to keep [Hamilton] off the bases as much as you can," Hendricks said. "When he gets on there, he'll steal second, steal third at the drop of the hat. You have to pay attention over there."
Second-inning spurt: The Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate in the second. Rookie Ian Happ walked to open the inning, and he reached third on Zobrist's single before scoring on a fielder's choice by Addison Russell. Miguel Montero walked, and one out later, Jonathan Jay was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Schwarber, who lined a single down the right-field line, driving in two. Kristopher Bryant walked to load the bases again, and Rizzo drove in two more runs with a hard-hit single to right for a 5-1 lead.
"[The bullpen] really was spectacular and [gave] us a chance to get back in that ballgame. But not enough. We've been down in these games; these last three games that we've lost, we've been down early. You can't ask the guys to continue to bounce back and pull yourself out of four- or five- or six-run holes. That's just not the way you're going to win games." -- Reds manager Bryan Price, after his bullpen gave up one hit over 5 1/3 scoreless innings following Feldman's departure
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cozart led off the Reds' third with his fourth home run; he is the first visiting player to homer in five consecutive games at Wrigley Field since Carlos Beltran did so in 2004. More >
Duvall's RBI single with two outs in the Reds' seventh ended Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery's streak of scoreless innings at 18. Cincinnati added two runs that inning on Eugenio Suarez's double.
With two outs in the Reds ninth, Russell grabbed a Votto grounder on the grass. Votto was called out after Rizzo had to do a split to catch Russell's throw, but the Cubs challenged the ruling. Following a review, the call was overturned, and the game was over.
"We should have a definitive shot of how they could overturn that, and we don't," Price said. "At this point in time, all we have is a call into the league, and they will or will not come up with a shot that's going to convince us they made the right decision. Right now, in the moment. Maybe they will, maybe they do. Maybe they have it. I'd sleep better if I knew they had a definitive shot of that."
Maddon said it was "awkward" to end the game with a call being reviewed.
"I thought there was one angle that they showed on the board that indicated [Rizzo] was on the bag," Maddon said. "The others were not so encouraging. I've learned already from calls that have gone against us that they have a different look in New York and see it in an even more high-def situation and blow it up. Fortunately, it went our way." More >
A BIT OF THE BIZARRE
The biggest drama in the game involved Bryant's broken bat, which got stuck in the netting behind home plate above the Cubs' on-deck circle after his at-bat in the first inning. The bat wouldn't budge when security tried to shake it loose and even threw a ball at it. After the second inning, four staffers used a 20-foot ladder to reach the bat and dislodge it.
"It scared me when they took it down," Montero said. "Everybody's down there holding the ladder, and they threw [the bat] out. What if the bat poked [one of the men] in the face or the eyes or something like that? That scared me the most."
Reds: Lefty Amir Garrett will be recalled from Triple-A Louisville to start Thursday's 2:20 p.m. ET series finale at Wrigley Field. Garrett, who went 3-2 with a 4.25 ERA with five quality starts in six games in the Majors, was sent down to limit his innings. In one two-inning start at Louisville on Friday, he struck out all six batters he faced.
Cubs: Lefty Jonathan Lester will close the series against the Reds on Thursday. In his previous start, against the Cardinals, he tied a season high with nine strikeouts but took the loss. He has a 1.44 ERA in four home starts, compared with a 5.73 ERA in four road starts. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field.
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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.