Forget pitching. The Cubs offense can take it from here (for one game, at least).
The Cubs (75-56) climbed back from deficit after deficit Tuesday, finally breaking through for a 5-4 win over the Reds (54-77) in front of 33,756 fans at Wrigley Field.
Kyle Schwarber delivered the big blow - a two-out, go-ahead homer into the left-center field bleachers in the bottom of the seventh.
Schwarber had been mired in a 1-for-14 slump before Tuesday and carried just a .122 average and .493 OPS over his last 11 games.
But it looks like he may have found his rhythm again as he singled, walked and scored three runs on top of his 13th big-league homer.
"He provided a spark for us," Kris Bryant said before acknowledging that nobody really needed to talk Schwarber through his slump. "He's got a good head on his shoulders. He trusts in his ability."
Joe Maddon actually had been predicting Schwarber's struggles for a while - "It's just hard to maintain that level of play or excellence at the plate, especially for a first-year guy for that long" - and the Cubs manager also believed Schwarber showed signs of coming out of his funk when he drew a fourth-inning walk.
In the next two at-bats, Schwarber ripped a single up the middle (clocked at 109 mph exit velocity) and then the two-run homer.
"I was putting a little pressure on myself," Schwarber said. "I just need to stick to the basics and stick to my approach and be more patient."
After allowing 13 runs (six unearned) Monday night, Cubs pitchers again struggled to keep Reds hitters off balance, allowing solo runs in the first, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
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Maddon spoke pregame about how he wants to see starting pitchers go deeper in games, but Dan Haren only managed to make it through five innings before giving way to the bullpen.
Haren called it a "step forward," but also wished he could have thrown more than 73 pitches.
"Obviously in the situation I'm in, my leash is a little bit shorter," Haren said. "I understand what Joe's doing. Of course, I'd like to be out there for six, seven, eight innings and stuff, but definitely not going to complain about it.
"We've got a great bullpen, so we're gonna use it. We've got 30 or so games left. Every game, we're treating it like a playoff game. What I'm trying to do is just accept that and make the most with the amount of pitches or innings that I get."
Lefty Clayton Richard came in for the sixth and faced only two left-handed batters, allowing doubles to both before Justin Grimm pitched out of a jam.
Then Fernando Rodney served up a leadoff homer in top of the seventh, an emotional letdown after the Cubs had just rallied to tie the game the inning before.
But none of it mattered as the Cubs' slumping offense came through to pick up the pitching staff. All five of the runs came with two outs.
Bryant was 3-for-4, driving in the Cubs' first two runs of the game. Miguel Montero singled home another in the sixth inning and then Schwarber's blast put the Cubs ahead for good.
"It feels like the playoffs every night," Schwarber said.