Hot-hitting rookie McLain, Steer lead Reds past Cubs for three-game sweep
CHICAGO (AP) — Matt McLain had a career-high four hits in his 12th big league game, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the slumping Chicago Cubs 8-5 on Sunday for a three-game series sweep.
Spencer Steer hit a two-run homer in Cincinnati's fourth win in its last five games. Kevin Newman reached five times on two singles and three walks, and Nick Senzel had two hits and two RBIs.
Cincinnati outscored Chicago 25-10 in its first three-game series sweep at Wrigley Field since August 2013. The Reds totaled 14 hits in the finale against their NL Central rival.
“Guys are just having great at-bats, not trying to do too much,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Staying on the ball, really just putting the good part of the bat on the ball and trusting the guys behind them."
The Reds were good on the basepaths, too.
“The aggressive baserunning has created opportunities,” Bell added. “It's created extra at-bats.”
McLain is 15 for 31 during a seven-game hitting streak. The 23-year-old infielder, a first-round pick in the 2021 amateur draft, is batting .380 with two homers and eight RBIs since making his major league debut on May 15.
“It's the same game,” McLain said. “Obviously, the talent's a lot better here, but I'm just trying to play baseball and play my game no matter what the circumstances.”
McLain was 9 for 15 against the Cubs over the weekend with two RBIs and four runs scored.
"I just try to live in the present and no matter what happens, I'm going to be locked in the next step, next pitch, next groundball," he said “I don't look at my stats that much.”
Patrick Wisdom homered twice and drove in five runs in Chicago's fourth straight loss. He hit a three-run shot in the second and a two-run drive in the eighth in his eighth career multihomer game.
Cincinnati starter Graham Ashcraft (3-3) pitched five innings of three-run ball in his first win since April 15. The right-hander was 0-3 with a 12.98 ERA in his previous four starts.
Alexis Díaz worked the ninth for his 12th save. Dansby Swanson singled with one out, but Díaz struck out Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki to close it out.
Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly (5-2) permitted five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings in his first loss since April 3. He went 5-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his previous nine starts.
“It's pretty frustrating,” Smyly said “It was an ugly weekend for us.”
Cincinnati went ahead to stay with two runs in the fifth. TJ Friedl had a pinch-hit RBI single, and Newman's bases-loaded walk in a 13-pitch at-bat against Jeremiah Estrada brought home another run.
Steer's seventh homer drove in Jonathan India and gave the Reds a 7-3 lead in the sixth. Senzel added an RBI double in the eighth.
Cubs: RHP Codi Heuer (recovery from Tommy John surgery) retired the four hitters he faced, striking out two, in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Iowa on Saturday. ... RHP Brad Boxberger (right forearm strain) played catch on Sunday.
Reds: Following an off day, RHP Ben Lively (2-2, 2.65 ERA) faces Boston RHP Brayan Bello (3-2, 4.08 ERA) on Tuesday at Fenway Park.
Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (4-4, 2.95 ERA) takes the mound against Tampa Bay RHP Taj Bradley (3-1, 4.44 ERA) on Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
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