Cubs continue to look for offense in series with Reds
CHICAGO — As the Chicago Cubs are trying to figure out how to re-establish their offense three games removed from a string of five games when they couldn’t manage more than one run, they will take wins any way they can get them.
Enter David Bote, who has twice recently delivered victories with walk-off home runs, did it again Friday to send the Cubs into Saturday’s matinee against the Cincinnati Reds with a three-game winning streak.
Bote smacked a solo home run in the 10th inning on Friday to give the Cubs a 3-2 win that also included a go-ahead homer by newcomer Daniel Murphy in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie.
Chicago has suddenly rediscovered their winning ways to maintain a cushion over the suddenly surging St. Louis Cardinals and will look to extend its winning streak to four games as its weekend series with Cincinnati continues at Wrigley Field.
“Every win is a win,” Bote said in a televised postgame interview with NBC Sports Chicago. “We’ll take them the best we can get them. This is a great team win. We played well and got it done.”
Jose Quintana will start for the Cubs on Saturday. Quintana (10-9, 4.36 ERA) has not won since Aug. 3 and has given up five earned runs in two of his past three starts. He was markedly better in his most recent outing, however, when he allowed just one run and four hits in five innings of a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Quintana is 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA in four career starts against the Reds.
The Reds will enter Saturday’s game having lost three straight games and four of their last five. Cincinnati has managed just three runs in the trio of consecutive losses and couldn’t produce much of anything on Friday against Alec Mills, who made his major league debut for Chicago and limited Cincinnati to three hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight.
If Cincinnati, which has been playing without All-Star first baseman Joey Votto, hopes to rebound Saturday, the Reds will have to find some offense. Eugenio Suarez forced extra innings with a solo home run in the ninth before Bote handed the Reds another loss with his dramatic walk-off with two outs and two strikes in the 10th.
Votto is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list (lower leg contusion) on Sunday but told reporters Friday that he’s still not at 100 percent, which could delay his return.
“I’m not there yet,” Votto said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “If today was Sunday, I wouldn’t be ready. I just have to put in more work and be able to be fully functional. There were some parts that weren’t 100 percent yet. We’ll get there.”
Interim manager Jim Riggleman told reporters that Votto “very well” may play Sunday, but the call will come down to Votto and to the Reds’ training staff.
Luis Castillo (7-10, 4.86 ERA) will start for the Reds on Saturday. He is coming off an impressive 6 2/3-inning performance against the San Francisco Giants in which he allowed just one earned run (three total) while striking out nine.
Castillo is 1-0 with a 3.05 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs.