Cubs

Rizzo's 2 homers, 4 RBIs lead Cubs to rout of Reds

Rizzo's 2 homers, 4 RBIs lead Cubs to rout of Reds

CINCINNATI (AP) Anthony Rizzo drove in four runs with his 10th career two-homer game, Jason Hammel pitched six scoreless innings and the Chicago Cubs routed the Cincinnati Reds 9-0 on Sunday to improve to 14-5 for the first time in 47 years.

Tommy La Stella hit two doubles and his first homer of the season and Jason Heyward had four hits and 3 RBIs as the Cubs rebounded from their worst loss of the season, 13-5, on Saturday.

Despite that loss, Chicago outscored Cincinnati 38-14 in the four-game series, which started Thursday with Jake Arrieta's 16-0 no-hitter.

The Cubs have won six of their seven games against the Reds this season and nine of their last 10 over the last two seasons. Chicago's record over 19 games is its best since the 1969 team started 14-5. The 1907 Cubs started 16-3.

Hammel (3-0) allowed three hits with two walks and a season-high seven strikeouts and sparked Chicago's two-run second inning with a two-out single to right. He, Arrieta and John Lackey all are 3-0, giving the Cubs three 3-0 pitchers before May 1 for the first time in franchise history.

Rizzo, who went into the game two homers short of tying the National League lead, hit two-run shots in each of his first two at-bats, helping the Cubs lead 8-0 after three innings.

Alfredo Simon, making his first start since lasting a career-low 2/3 of an inning against the Cubs at Chicago on April 13, pitch 2 2/3 innings on Sunday. Simon (0-2), who missed his start on Tuesday with right biceps tendinitis, allowed nine hits and eight runs with one walk and three strikeouts, but he actually lowered his ERA against Chicago from 67.16 to 35.14.

The Reds have lost in all four of Simon's appearances this season, including three starts.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: With Chicago having Monday off, manager Joe Maddon considered Sunday a good day to give CF Dexter Fowler his second non-start of the season. Fowler was riding a six-game hitting streak and leading the NL with 17 runs scored.

Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani, who hasn't pitched after suffering a strained left oblique in spring training, three 61 pitches over four innings for Double-A Pensacola on Saturday and felt great, manager Bryan Price said. DeSclafani is scheduled to pitch on Thursday for Single-A Dayton.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks, loser of his last two starts, starts the opener of Chicago's three-game home series against Milwaukee. Hendricks is 4-1 in six career starts against the Brewers, and his 1.45 ERA is his best against any team he has faced at least four times.

Reds: RHP Raisel Iglesias (1-1) makes his first career appearance against the Mets as Cincinnati opens a six-game road trip with the first of three in New York. The Reds are 3-1 in Iglesias's four starts this season.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

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AP

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

The Cubs have been a different team the last six weeks, looking a lot more like the resilient bunch from 2016 than the sluggish 2017 squad that lacked energy. After some wacky circumstances Monday and a tough loss in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Cubs came out and showed what they’re made of in the last two games of the series against the Dodgers, a team that knocked them out of postseason play last fall.

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki sum up the longest short homestand (or shortest long homestand?), updating the status of Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, the Cubs pitching staff and how the team is rounding into form as the season’s halfway mark approaches.

Check out the entire podcast here: