Hendricks propels Cubs to sweep vs. Reds

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[June 30, 2016]  CINCINNATI -- Kyle Hendricks' marching orders on Wednesday afternoon were cut and dry. Coming off a 15-inning game in which seven relievers were used, the Cubs needed Hendricks to extend himself.

"It was necessary," manager Joe Maddon said. "I went up to him afterward and said, 'This is something you can have in your back pocket, that when the game gets deeper you can still have your best stuff."

Hendricks tossed a season-high 117 pitches and allowed two runs through six innings. Anthony Rizzo belted his first career inside-the-park home run in the first, as Chicago completed the sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with a 9-2 victory at Great American Ball Park.

Hendricks (6-6) walked two and fanned five. He received a nice ovation from the large contingent of Cubs fans in attendance after completing his 6 2/3 innings, giving the bullpen a much-needed respite.

"The last two-plus innings were my best innings," Hendricks said. "I still felt really strong. You can still have to simplify, but you want to go out there and pick up your team."

This series was particularly crazy beginning with Kris Bryant's historic three-homer, two-double game on Monday, followed by a 15-inning affair the next night in which the Cubs used three pitchers in left field.

The wildness continued in the first inning on Wednesday when, with two runners aboard, Rizzo hit a liner to left-center field that caromed off the glove of left fielder Adam Duvall and rolled to the warning track. Rizzo raced around the bases to stake the Cubs to an early 3-0 lead.

Center fielder Billy Hamilton, who nearly collided with Duvall on the play, was struck on the left side of his face by the ball and had to leave the game. Tyler Holt replaced Hamilton in center.

"First, I hope Billy's alright," Rizzo said. "I was really proud of my heart rate there, coming back down. I turned on my speed, turned on the jets. Hey, it counts as much as a 500-foot one."

Hamilton was diagnosed with a facial contusion and is in concussion protocol for the second time this season.

"It didn't get him in the eye or the nose. It was more on the cheek," manager Bryan Price said. "I saw him in the fourth or fifth inning and he was in pretty good spirits. He wanted to stay in the game, but in that situation, we made the best decision."

Chicago added two more runs in the third on an RBI double by Willson Contreras and an RBI single from Javier Baez.

Baez went 3-for-5 with a double and RBI.

Ben Zobrist denied the Reds a run when he threw out Joey Votto trying to score on Jay Bruce's single to end the third inning.

A pair of solo homers in the fourth by Addison Russell, his eighth, and Albert Almora, the first of his career, made the score 7-0.

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Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28) bunts against the Cincinnati Reds during the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. Cubs left fielder Matt Szczur (R) scored on the play. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

"Up and down the lineup, a bunch of babies played in that game today and they did a wonderful job," Maddon said. "They're inexperienced, they're young. But, they came out and played really well."

Reds left-hander Cody Reed (0-2) who was making his third career start, got roughed up on Wednesday, allowing seven earned runs and three homers in four innings.

Duvall hit his 23rd homer for Cincinnati leading off the fourth. He went 2-for-3 with a homer and RBI on Wednesday.

Matt Szczur was 1-for-15 on the road trip before delivering an RBI single in the seventh to increase Chicago's lead to 8-2.

A squeeze bunt by Hendricks in the seventh brought home Szczur pushing the Cubs' lead to seven. "The last few bunts have been pretty good," Hendricks said. "I'll take that."

The Reds seemed to take exception to this as Bryant was hit squarely on the hip by Jumbo Diaz in the eighth inning.

"Different managers have different ideas about what a safe lead is," Price said. "I'll leave it at that."

The Cubs (51-26) won their fourth straight series over the Reds after having lost six of seven games coming into the week.

"That's the way we are, we just come in and play," Rizzo said. "This was a good series for us."

NOTES: The Reds optioned struggling RHP J.J. Hoover to Triple-A and recalled RHP Keyvius Sampson. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was in the lineup but sore after taking two foul tips off his left foot and being hit by a pitch in Tuesday's game. ... Cubs 2B Javier Baez's 15th-inning grand slam Tuesday night was the latest innings-wise in franchise history. ... The Cubs reached 50 wins in their 76th game, fastest since 1918 when they got there in 71 games.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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