HRs point Cubs in right direction against Reds
CHICAGO -- Miguel Montero smacked a three-run homer in the first and Dexter Fowler launched a leadoff shot into the renovated right-field bleachers in the third to power the Cubs to a 6-3 victory Thursday night over the injury-depleted Reds.
Fowler's seventh home run was the first to land into the right-field seats at Wrigley Field when fans were present. Other players have hit home runs to right but the bleachers were under construction at that time.
"It's beautiful, man," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said about having the bleachers full of fans. "As a fan, as a player, as a manager, whatever, it's a cool place. It is 'The Friendly Confines.' It's cool, it's very cool. To get it all back together is really wonderful."
Reds starter Michael Lorenzen helped himself, hitting a two-run triple in the second. But the right-hander served up six runs (five earned) on five hits, including an RBI double by Kris Bryant in the fifth, and was pulled after 4 1/3 innings.
"He's going to need to tighten up the command of the fastball more than anything, and really be able to work ahead more than he's been able to so far," Reds manager Bryan Price said of Lorenzen.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Power stick: For the second straight game, Montero found his home run swing, and hit his second three-run homer and third in his last eight games. The catcher has been scuffling in June, and had four hits in 24 at-bats before Thursday's contest. With one out in the Chicago first, Anthony Rizzo doubled, Bryant walked and Montero followed to take a 3-0 lead. Montero hit a three-run blast Wednesday in the Cubs' 12-3 win over the Tigers.
"It's just about being more aggressive at the plate and being ready to hit," Montero said. "Before that, I wasn't ready to hit, and I was probably over-thinking." More >
A first time for Lorenzen: After Lorenzen allowed a three-run home run in the first inning, he helped his own cause with his first career extra-base hit in the second. Lorenzen lined a triple just over the glove of Cubs right fielder Junior Lake, scoring two runners on the play. Though it was his fourth hit this season, it marked the first RBI of his career. More >
Start me up: Before the game, Maddon said he hoped starter Tsuyoshi Wada would stick to a simple game plan and not try to be too creative. However, Wada needed 33 pitches to get through the second inning, gave up a leadoff home run to Chris Dominguez in the fourth and was lifted for Travis Wood, one of two former starters in the Chicago bullpen. Wada threw 73 pitches in three-plus innings.
"It's not a mechanical adjustment, it's more a mental adjustment going into his next start," Maddon said of Wada, who, according to Maddon, will stay in the rotation. More >
Callup contributors: Coming from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday afternoon, shortstop Eugenio Suarez and left fielder Dominguez made immediate contributions. Both scored runs as Suarez walked and scored a run in the second inning and had a single in the ninth while Dominguez delivered a home run in the fourth. The pair was called up after shortstop Zack Cozart was ruled out for the season with torn ligaments in his right knee. More >
"You know you're going to get every ounce of energy out of them," Price said. "They're excited to be here and they want to do well, so I was happy with that. And they're the guys we wanted when the situation got to where we needed a shortstop and another position player."
"No one feels sorry for you. A lot of other teams are dealing with the same thing." -- Price, on having just three players from his Opening Day lineup starting Thursday night
"It was awesome. Playing here in the past as a visiting player, it was a really good atmosphere, and now that we have it all back, it is a great place to play. When you come here every day, regardless of day game, night game, you're going to have a really good crowd. It's that baseball atmosphere every single day and that gets the players going." -- Montero, on having the Wrigley Field bleachers open
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Lorenzen's triple in the second was the first by a Reds pitcher since Mike Leake hit one on April 17, 2013, against the Phillies.
• Rizzo doubled in the first, and has reached base in his last 18 games and 45 of his last 47 dating back to April 20. The 18-game stretch ties Rizzo's career high, set Aug. 23, 2014, to April 11 this season.
Reds catcher Brayan Pena led the Majors with seven consecutive at-bats with a hit before he had his streak snapped in the third inning. Pena grounded out to the shortstop, leaving Houston's George Springer and the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig tied for the lead with five straight hits.
Reds: Johnny Cueto gets his first start against the Cubs this season when the series continues at 4:05 p.m. ET at Wrigley Field on Friday. Cueto hasn't had much success against the Cubs in recent outings, going 1-2 in three appearances during 2014 while surrendering 11 runs in those contests.
Cubs: On Friday, Jason Hammel will make his 12th start and first at home since May 13. The right-hander has posted quality starts in his last eight outings, going 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA in that stretch. This will be Hammel's first start against the Reds since 2011. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT.
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