After a very frustrating loss in the first game of their doubleheader with the Reds, the Cubs looked to earn the split Saturday night. In this game, the lack of hits with runners in scoring position turned out to be a non-issue. Jose Quintana put his recent struggles behind him, for one game at least, and allowed nothing to the Cincinnati hitters.
The Cubs put pressure on Reds starter and lesser-known Goodfellas character Salvatore Romano from the start. They finally took a lead with an RBI groundout from Kris Bryant in the 3rd inning. Ian Happ stayed hot with a solo bomb to right in the top of the 4th. Not only did it make the score 2-0, it was the 14,000th home run in Cubs history.
Chicago really whacked Big Sal in the 5th inning. Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant walked and Anthony Rizzo doubled both home to make it 4-0. Later in the inning, Jason Heyward cleared the bases with a bloop “triple” to make it a 7-0 laugher. Quintana looked as good as he has all year, going seven excellent innings. The Northsiders tacked on a couple more runs and this game was sleeping with the fishes. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Unlike the first game, the Cubs came through in a couple big spots with men on base. That. combined with a pen-saving effort from Quintana, made this contest a no-doubter.
Heyward’s triple came with the bases loaded and two down in the 5th. He hit a shallow bloop to right field, but right fielder Jesse Winker broke back on the ball for some reason. Second baseman Scooter Gennett made an all-out effort, diving for the ball and knocking it into the corner. All three runners scored and J-Hey almost went for the inside the park homer before getting the stop sign at third.
Stats That Matter
- Quintana was throwing the best he has all season: 7 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 7 K, 4 BB. With the bullpen used up, it was nice to see him go deep in this one.
- Ben Zobrist was on base four times from the leadoff spot. His patient approach should earn him most of the starts in the one hole moving forward.
- Ian Happ walked twice in addition to his home run. All of a sudden, he is an above average hitter with an .870 OPS. There are always going to be strikeouts, but if he can display power like Saturday it will be worth it.
- Heyward had two hits and four RBI in his first start off the disabled list.
This was the ninth time the Cubs have scored ten or more runs in 2018. The feast or famine season continues for Chicago.
The Cubs look for the series win Sunday afternoon at 12:10pm CT. Yu Darvish matches up with Tyler Mahle in a contest that airs on ABC-7.