Trio of homers power Jackson to first 'W'
Right-hander gives up two runs in 5 2/3; Olt, Barney, Castillo go yard
CHICAGO -- Maybe all the Cubs needed was a little pep talk.
Mike Olt belted a solo home run and Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo each added two-run shots to give Edwin Jackson his first win of the season and lead the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Reds on Saturday, snapping their losing streak at five.
Chicago manager Rick Renteria met with his players after Friday's 4-1 loss to the Reds, which he called a "sloppy" game.
"Yesterday, we had a talk with everybody to talk about the same things we've talked about since spring -- it takes a lot of focus and intensity and commitment to have a chance to win," Renteria said Saturday. "And not even a guarantee, just a chance [to win]. Winning is not an accident, it is a process and something you can put together with different means."
Renteria tried to downplay his message.
"They all understood and understand that there's some intensity that's involved and focus that's involved in playing the game," he said. "Sometimes you get the results you want and sometimes you don't. You have to keep playing the game."
Wins have been few and far between for Jackson, who is coming off a season in which he led the National League with 18 losses. Maybe it was the Motown music he picked before that game that put him in the right mood.
The right-hander scattered eight hits over 5 2/3 innings for the win, and gave credit to the bullpen for picking him up. Lefty Wesley Wright was key in the sixth when he got pinch-hitter Brayan Pena to fly out, stranding a runner at third after the Reds had pulled within 3-2. Hector Rondon pitched two innings and Pedro Strop finished the game.
"Today was a great team effort," Jackson said.
The highlight may have been Jackson's efficient three-pitch third inning. Billy Hamilton singled on the first pitch, and Joey Votto then grounded into a double play on the first pitch he saw, before Brandon Phillips hit a comebacker to the pitcher for the third out. The last Cubs pitcher to get three outs on three pitches in one inning was Randy Wells, who did so on Sept. 25, 2011, against the Cardinals.
"It definitely doesn't hurt," Jackson said of the quick inning.
Did Renteria's message help?
"He's not in there speaking for himself, he's in there to get us fired up, to get us motivated, to let us know he has confidence in us and he understands the ability that we have once we take the field," Jackson said. "Sometimes it's needed to put that fire under guys and get them motivated to play."
"I think when Ricky talks and shows emotion, it means something," Barney said. "He doesn't do it very often. We know he's got our back and is on our side. When he shows a little fire, it usually works."
Emilio Bonifacio got things started when he singled to lead off for the Cubs, the first of his three hits in the game, and Junior Lake walked. One out later, Justin Ruggiano delivered an RBI single. Scoring first helped, but Renteria knew it wasn't enough.
"You take a breath, but the reality is you know you need so much more," Renteria said. "All the clubs in our division have the ability to put a lot of runs on the board. That's why you have to keep tacking on and keep defending and holding on. Today, I thought we did a much better job and even overcoming the little sputter in the sixth with Edwin when they scored two, they just kept battling."
Olt launched the first pitch Tony Cingrani threw in the second to left for his third home run and a 2-0 lead. Chicago loaded the bases in the third and added a run on a fielder's choice by Starlin Castro, who hit the ball hard at third baseman Todd Frazier.
"It wasn't that he was hit hard -- [Cingrani] gave up the home run to Olt and a couple of hard hit balls, base hits and a hard-hit ball to Frazier that he was able to knock down and get a force out on -- but he was just kind of around the zone, but not in it enough," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He didn't have a lot of reliable secondary stuff to get over."
Barney connected on his first home run of the season with two outs and a runner on first off a 3-1 pitch from Logan Ondrusek in the bottom of the frame. Lake added another run with an RBI single. Castillo then belted his third home run with two outs and a runner on in the seventh.
"It was a good sign," Jackson said. "This is an example of what our team is capable of. It's just a matter of going out and proving it on the daily basis."