beat Reds for fifth straight win
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[August 24, 2017]
CINCINNATI -- Chicago Cubs
left-hander Mike Montgomery believes his future in the major leagues
is as a starting pitcher. Manager Joe Maddon agrees. On Wednesday
night, Montgomery did nothing to dispel that notion.
Kyle Schwarber hit a three-run home run, Tommy La Stella added a
two-run shot, and Montgomery allowed four hits through six innings,
lifting the Chicago Cubs to their fifth straight win, a 9-3 victory
over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Montgomery (4-6), who moved into the rotation when Jon Lester went
on the disabled list, is considered a candidate to be in the
starting rotation for the Cubs in 2018. For now, he is content with
his role as a spot starter and reliever.
"Since day one I came over here, they've been telling me I'm a
starter," Montgomery said. "I think I am as well. Whatever is best
for the team, that's the mentality I've taken. That's how I've been
able to transition back and forth."
On Wednesday, Montgomery issued one walk and struck out four. He
retired 10 of the final 11 batters. His 89 pitches were the
second-most he has thrown this season.
"He's a ground-ball machine," Maddon said. "Fastball command. When
he gets ahead in the count, he can force hitters to put the ball in
play. I'm not surprised by this at all. He's very capable."
Chicago (68-57) moved to a season-high 11 games over the .500 mark
and now owns a season-high 3 1/2-game lead over second-place
Milwaukee in the National League Central.
The Cubs played without third baseman Kris Bryant, who was hit on
the hand by a pitch during the ninth inning on Tuesday night. But La
Stella took over for Bryant at third base and went 1-for-2 with a
homer, two RBIs and a walk. He reached base four times.
Cincinnati (53-74) has lost three straight games and has dropped
nine of the past 12 series against Chicago.
Joey Votto hit a solo homer in the ninth, his 33rd of the season,
off Hector Rondon, helping the Reds avoid their fourth shutout loss
this season and third at home.
Cincinnati wasn't finished with Rondon, who allowed back-to-back
homers by Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler before recording the
It was the 24th homer of the season for both Suarez and Schebler.
"Rondon did what he's supposed to do in that situation," said
Maddon. "Throw strikes."
Reds starter Asher Wojciechowski (3-3) needed 35 pitches to get
through the first inning. He walked three, including La Stella with
the bases loaded to force in a run.
Jason Heyward's RBI single coupled with a throwing error by Reds
left fielder Adam Duvall scored two runs, putting the Cubs ahead
"Helps when you get a three-run lead before you even go out there,"
Montgomery said. "The offense has been unbelievable for us the past
week or so. Hopefully, we can keep it going."
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Cubs starting pitcher Mike Montgomery throws against the Cincinnati
Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory
Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Heyward came through again in the third when he drove home Anthony
Rizzo, who had doubled, with another RBI hit, putting Chicago ahead
Wojciechowski allowed eight runs (seven earned) in 3
"That first inning set the tone," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "He
was up in the zone. You're in the first inning and you're down 3-0,
there's not much room for error."
Montgomery induced 11 ground-ball outs, none bigger than one to end
the third inning when shortstop Javier Baez made a sliding stab of
Votto's hard grounder to start a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning
after the Reds had runners on first and second.
"That was unbelievable," Montgomery said. "For him to backhand it,
then for us to be able to turn the double play. Such a boost."
Schwarber then launched a three-run, opposite-field homer, his 21st
of the season, to make the score 7-0. There was a 1-minute,
14-second crew chief review to determine the ball did clear the left
"That first half is a complete wash for me," said Schwarber. "I've
felt a lot better at the plate recently, hitting the ball hard the
last couple of days. Got to take those. Don't worry about the
result, worry about the process and hit it where it's at."
Chicago led 9-0 in the fourth after La Stella hit a two-run homer,
his third of the season, off right-hander Alejandro Chacin, who was
making his major league debut.
"We grew from struggling in the first half," Montgomery said. "It's
all about getting to the playoffs. We're completely over last year
now. We're having fun."
NOTES: Cubs LHP Jon Lester threw on the side on Wednesday and is
expected to throw a bullpen session on Friday in Philadelphia. Next
steps will be determined after Friday's bullpen. Lester is on the
disabled list with lat tightness and shoulder fatigue. ... Reds RHP
Luke Farrell was recalled from Triple-A Louisville and RHP Alejandro
Chacin had his contract selected from Louisville. The Reds also
optioned OF Phillip Ervin to Triple-A, and RHP Blake Wood was
designated for assignment. Farrell allowed one hit over three
innings in his Reds debut.
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