By HAL McCOY
If the Cincinnati Reds play the rest of baseball they way they’ve played the first place Chicago Cubs so far this season, matters might get considerably interesting.
With an emphatic 10-2 victory Sunday in Wrigley Field, the Reds have won four of six games against the Cubs this season.
And they’ve won two series against the Cubs in close to two weeks, winning both by two games to one. The Reds are the only team to take a series from the Cubs in Chicago’s last 15 series. . .and they’ve done it twice.
It was extra-special because the Reds’ theme this year was Never On Sunday. They had lost all eight games they had played on Sunday this season.
On this Sunday, though, they beat up on the Cubs so emphatically that manager Joe Maddon put catcher Victor Caratini on the mound for the ninth inning.
And with 10 runs and 17 hits one might think the Reds peppered the streets beyond Wrigley Field with home runs. Not so. Their first 16 hits were either singles or doubles — 13 singles and three doubles.
The one home run was Curt Casali’s two-run ninth inning blast off catcher Caratini.
Reds starter Tanner Roark pitched out of a few minor episodes in the first three innings, but held the Cubs scoreless on six hits over his five innings.
The Reds established what kind of day it would be before many of the 40,000 in Wrigley Field found their seats. The first four Reds singled off left hander Jose Quintana.
They only scored two runs, tough, because Jose Iglesias hit into a double play.
Then they begin pecking away, scoring one in the third on a sacrifice fly by Eugenio Suarez, who drove in six runs in the three-game series.
They broke it open in the sixth with four runs on only two hits. It began with a single from Jesse Winker, who emerged from his slump cocoon with two hits. Curt Casali walked on four pitches and Kyle Farmer, batting for Roark, drilled a two-run double. A run scored on a wild pitch.
Nick Senzel walked, Joey Votto hit a sacrifice fly and a run scored when outfielders Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward collided on a fly ball by Suarez to make it 7-0.
The Cubs didn’t score until it was 8-0 and they scored two on solo home runs, one off Michael Lorenzen by Willson Contreras in the sixth and one by Javier Baez off Hughes in the eighth.
So who had the litany of hits? Nearly everybody. Senzel had three hits and six Reds had two hits.
Senzel was 3 for 4 and scored four runs. Votto was 2 for 4 and had seven hits in the three games. Suarez was 2 for 3. Yasiel Puig was 2 for 5. Jose Iglesias was 2 for 5. Jesse Winker was 2 for 5 and Curt Casali was 2 for 4.
The Reds are back to four games under .500 for the ninth time this season. They are 0-and-8 in those games.
Their next chance to get within three, and maybe 2 1/2, comes Monday afternoon/night when they play a split doubleheader in Great American Ball Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
They are 1-and-5 against the Pirates as Luis Castillo tries to reverse that trend as Game One’s starting pitcher and Sonny Gray pitches the night game.