The Cubs demolished Reds pitching again Wednesday night, winning 16-6, and so I get to lead this recap with more facts from BCB’s JohnW53:
The 36 runs scored by the Cubs in the last two games is their most in back-to-back games in the Modern Era (since 1901).
Their 12 home runs are the most that the Cubs have EVER hit in back-to-back games.
They hit 10 on Sept. 17-18, 2006: six in an 11-3 win at home over the Reds, then four in an 11-6 win at Philadelphia.
They had never hit more than nine in consecutive games against the same team. The last time they did that was Sept. 14-15, 2019, when they beat the Pirates, 14-1 and 16-6, while hitting four, then five homers.
I’ve got a bit more here before I get to the details and highlights: This was the 18th time the Cubs had scored at least 10 runs in a game this year. That leads the National League and is second in MLB to the Rangers (22 times). And the Cubs scored all 16 runs in a six-inning span from the third through the eighth inning.
The Cubs are the 1st team to have 10 extra base hits and 5 HR in consecutive games in MLB history. https://t.co/2X22cfhUl0— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) August 3, 2023
Let’s begin at the beginning, which was when the Reds took a 3-0 lead, on a two-run homer by Spencer Steer in the first, and a solo shot by Joey Votto in the second. That’s another rough start from Drew Smyly, and that’s a bit of a concern.
The Cubs made it 3-2 in the bottom of the third. Jeimer Candelario led off with a double, and two outs later Christopher Morel hit the bottom of the left-field video board [VIDEO].
Smyly gave the lead back to the Reds in the fourth — Votto again, this time a two-run shot. It was Votto’s 50th career homer against the Cubs and 26th at Wrigley Field. Both numbers lead all active players. It gave the Reds another three-run lead at 5-2.
The Cubs began to take care of that in the bottom of the inning on this solo shot by Dansby Swanson, his 16th, to Waveland [VIDEO].
Here’s where that wound up:
Dansby Swanson with his 16th home run of the season. Hello Waveland Avenue !!!! Ballhawk Moe with his 245th career game HR catch.— BALLHAWK.NET (@Super_Dave) August 3, 2023
Cubs still down 5-3 to the Reds. 5 runs will not win this game!
7th street homer his season. #wrigley #ballhawks pic.twitter.com/LCa9R5Kjrv
Dave was correct — five runs did not win the game... not even close.
The Cubs tied things up in the fifth. Candelario reached base again, leading off with a walk. One out later, a single by Nico Hoerner moved him to second base.
Morel’s double, along with the previous homer, gave him a 10-game hitting streak. The runners had to hold in case that ball had been caught, so only one run scored. But Cody Bellinger took care of plating that second run [VIDEO].
So it’s now tied 5-5. Smyly was removed with two out in the fifth and Michael Fulmer had a really nice relief outing, retiring all five batters he faced.
The Cubs then blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Ian Happ led off with a walk. Yan Gomes’ double gave the Cubs the lead [VIDEO].
Gomes is also on a 10-game hitting streak. Seiya Suzuki then singled, scoring Gomes to make it 7-5 [VIDEO].
Candelario followed with his second hit of the day, an infield single that moved Suzuki to second. Mike Tauchman, a hot hitter lately, was sent up to bat for Patrick Wisdom. He doubled in a run, making it 8-5 [VIDEO].
Then Reds third baseman Nick Senzel made a throwing error, scoring two more Cubs runs [VIDEO].
A five-run lead did not seem safe for a bit, though. Mark Leiter Jr. served up another home run, to pinch-hitter TJ Friedl, and it’s 10-6.
The Cubs would send nine men to the plate again in the seventh, with the first being Happ, who homered [VIDEO].
Two outs later, Candelario doubled, his third hit of the night. Tauchman hit another RBI double to make it 12-6 [VIDEO].
Then the Reds threw and booted the ball over the infield. Well, mostly Nick Senzel did.
It’s 14-6, then, entering the eighth. Julian Merryweather threw a scoreless inning, then the Cubs piled on Luke Maile, the Reds catcher who was pitching for the second straight night.
One out later, Suzuki got in on the home-run fun [VIDEO].
All the numbers on the Cubs’ run-scoring and home runs are above, but I also wanted to note that after that home run by Suzuki, Candelario doubled, his fourth hit of the game, his second four-hit effort in as many games since returning to the Cubs. Guess he likes it here. Bellinger is the only other Cub with at least four hits in two games this year — and one of those was in April and the other in July. Candelario has raised his season OPS from .823 to .854 in just two days. He also scored four runs, becoming the first Cub to score four times in a game in more than four years, since Kyle Schwarber did it against the Brewers July 28, 2019.
With a 10-run lead, David Ross sent out Jose Cuas to make his Cubs debut. Oddly, Cuas started the ninth similar to what Anthony Kay did the night before. Kay recorded the first two outs on four pitches, then had trouble throwing strikes. Cuas recorded the first two outs on just three pitches, then allowed a single and a walk.
Fortunately, that was it. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].
Ross is right about it being fun to be around the atmosphere at the ballpark. There was great energy in the crowd Wednesday night and fans were really into the game. It’s great to see.
A few notes to wrap things up:
The Cubs’ run differential went up to +77 with this blowout, which not only is the lone positive run differential in the N.L. Central, but is now third in the National League behind the Braves (+159) and Dodgers (+101). The Cubs’ 555 runs remain third in the N.L. behind the Braves and Dodgers and fifth in MLB, 18 runs behind the Rays. That’s an average of 5.14 runs per game, a pace for 833 runs for the season.
Since losing the first game to the Nationals on the last homestand, the Cubs are 12-3, the best record in baseball. They trail the Reds by three games (two in the loss column) and are 2½ games behind the third wild card spot (also down two in the loss column).
They will go for the series win tonight at Wrigley Field. Jameson Taillon, who’s been very good lately, gets the start for the Cubs and he will face Luke Weaver, who enters tonight’s action with a 6.80 ERA. I like the Cubs’ chances. Game time is again 7:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.