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Reds ride early barrage to victory over Cubs

July 5, 2016

CHICAGO -- After being roughed up by the Cubs this season, the Reds got some revenge on Tuesday. Zack Cozart and Jay Bruce each hit two-run homers and Joey Votto drove in two runs to back lefty Brandon Finnegan, who served up four home runs but held on for a

CHICAGO -- After being roughed up by the Cubs this season, the Reds got some revenge on Tuesday. Zack Cozart and Jay Bruce each hit two-run homers and Joey Votto drove in two runs to back lefty Brandon Finnegan, who served up four home runs but held on for a 9-5 Cincinnati victory at Wrigley Field.
Cubs starter John Lackey had trouble finding the strike zone in the first inning, walking three of the first four batters he faced, and the Reds took advantage -- including a wild play by Billy Hamilton, who walked, stole second and scored on a passed ball by catcher David Ross. Cozart's home run in the second made it 4-0.
"John could never get into a rhythm today," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Everything was off a bit."

The Cubs closed to 5-4 with three home runs in the third off Finnegan, including Kris Bryant's National League-leading 25th blast of the year. Addison Russell hit two homers to drive in three runs for the second straight game. Finnegan allowed five earned runs on five hits with four walks over five innings.
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"Today for Finny was bend, don't break," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He gave up five runs but he didn't relinquish the lead. He gave us a chance to get to the bullpen. He could have conceded that easy by kind of falling apart, and he didn't."
Important for the Reds were the four scoreless innings of relief that followed Finnegan. Raisel Iglesias delivered zeros for three of those frames with two hits before Tony Cingrani worked the ninth in a non-save situation.
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"It was very important for me because they're a really aggressive team," Iglesias said via translator Julio Morillo. "They've been hitting really good. I was just trying to hold them in order to help my team to win the game."
Despite the loss, the Cubs lead the season series, 10-2, have outscored the Reds, 102-45, and have clubbed 31 home runs off Cincinnati pitchers this season. The 31 homers are the most by an opponent since the 2005 Cubs belted 32 against the Reds.
Don't sleep on speed: Lackey had already issued back-to-back one-out walks to Hamilton and Votto when a pitch to Bruce got by Ross for a passed ball to advance the runners. Lackey, who put his hands on his head as Ross retrieved the ball, didn't cover the plate and Hamilton alertly bolted for home and scored the game's first run on a headfirst slide as Ross airmailed a rushed throw.
"I made some good pitches to Votto," Lackey said. "The [walk] to Hamilton is the one that made the difference there. A speed guy, you have to make him earn his way on."
"Usually people score like that when it bounces around -- maybe down by third base or down by first base -- but not too many people can score when it's right behind home plate," Hamilton said. "I knew I saw Lackey -- I don't know if he was mad at the pitch or mad at the catcher -- I saw him just sitting back there and thought I'd take a chance, and it worked out." More >

Batter up: While the T-Mobile Home Run Derby isn't until Monday, the Cubs staged one of their own in the third. Javier Baez led off the inning with his ninth homer and, one out later, Bryant followed with his blast. Anthony Rizzo walked and, one out later, Russell smacked his 10th homer to close to 5-4. The Reds' pitching staff now has served up a Major League-leading 151 home runs. It's the first time the Cubs have hit three in one inning since last Aug. 13 against the Brewers.

Cozart extends lead: For the second straight day, Cozart had a home run and a double vs. the Cubs. His two-run homer to left field with two outs in the second inning was his 13th of the season -- two shy from his career high of 15. In the fourth, he added a leadoff double and scored from third base on Votto's sacrifice fly that made it 6-4.

That's 18: When Bruce hit a two-run homer to left field in the top of the ninth against Pedro Strop, it was his 18th long ball of the season. Bruce became the 14th player in Major League history to hit at least 18 home runs in each of his first nine seasons. He's also the second Reds player to achieve the feat, joining Frank Robinson (1956-64).

"It's a real big boost. It's the Cubs. Everybody wants to beat the Cubs, they're the best team in baseball. For us to beat them is always a momentum push for us. It's something we have to build off of. We know we can beat these guys. They're a good team. When you get a win, you need to take it and run with it and try to do the same thing tomorrow and win the series. We want to beat these guys so bad. Today was a big day for us."
-- Hamilton, who was 2-for-3 with a walk, three steals and two runs scored

With his home run in the third, Bryant now has nine home runs against the Reds, the most by an opponent against Cincinnati pitching since Derrek Lee hit nine in 2005.

Maddon was ejected in the second after questioning a called strike by home-plate umpire Jerry Meals. Ross was at the plate with two outs and a runner at second base in the Chicago second, and was ahead, 3-0 in the count. The next pitch was low, and Ross thought it was a ball, but Meals called it a strike. Maddon said something from the dugout, then came out to question the call and was tossed. More >

Reds: In Wednesday's 2:20 p.m. ET series finale, Anthony DeSclafani will try to continue his run of solid pitching and deep starts. DeSclafani, who has a 1.78 ERA in five starts, has worked into at least the seventh inning in each of his past three outings.
Cubs:Adam Warren will make his first start for the Cubs on Wednesday in the series finale. He's the sixth man in the rotation because the Cubs want to give everyone a breather. He made two starts at Triple-A Iowa to prep for this. First pitch will be 1:20 p.m. CT.
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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for 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 since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.