CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs waited all season for a hot streak from NL MVP Kris Bryant. Now that he’s on one, they want it to last a while.
”My history with him is when he gets it, it stays there,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back homers to cap a five-run fourth inning, and the Cubs continued their recent dominance of the Cincinnati Reds with a 15-5 victory Monday night.
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Bryant went 2 for 4 with a walk and has reached safely in 16 of his last 20 plate appearances.
”It’s a special stretch,” said Rizzo, who was 3 for 5 with a season-high five RBIs. ”It was a matter of time before he’s doing what he’s doing. It’s fun to watch.”
Jon Jay had three hits with an RBI and finished a home run shy of the cycle as the Cubs extended their NL Central lead to 1 1/2 games over idle St. Louis. Jose Quintana (3-2) allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings to snap a three-start winless stretch.
Chicago has 25 wins in its last 32 games against the Reds. The Cubs have swept the last two series at Wrigley Field between the teams going back to last season, and won 11 of the past 13 meetings there the last two years.
Scooter Gennett hit a two-run homer, his 20th, in the eighth for the Reds, who have five players with at least 20 home runs to tie a club record. Gennett also mopped up on the mound after beginning the game at second base.
Cincinnati catcher Devin Mesoraco broke his left foot when he was hit by a pitch in the second.
Joey Votto went 3 for 5 to set a Cincinnati mark by reaching base at least twice in 19 consecutive games. It’s the longest streak in the majors since Barry Bonds did it in 20 straight in 2004.
”We had a lot of guys on base today; both teams did,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. ”They were able to take advantage of it a bit more.”
Reds starter Asher Wojciehowski (3-2) appeared to settle down after a rough first inning, but couldn’t get the final out in the fourth.
With Jason Heyward at first and two outs, Jay tripled into the right-field corner to give Chicago a 3-2 lead. Tommy La Stella followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2. Bryant then cracked a two-run homer and Rizzo followed with a solo shot for a 7-2 edge.
The Cubs scored six times in the seventh – highlighted by reliever Mike Montgomery’s two-run double and Rizzo’s two-run single – to make it 12-2.
After the Reds scored three times in the eighth, Javier Baez hit a two-run homer off Gennett in the bottom of the inning.
The game marked the beginning of a stretch of 24 straight for the Cubs against teams currently with losing records.
Don Baylor, who managed the Cubs from 2000-02, was honored before the game with a moment of silence and a video tribute on the Wrigley Field scoreboard. Baylor died last week from cancer at 68.
Maddon used four outfielders when Votto came to the plate in the fifth. He still managed to double down the right-field line.
”I did it in Tampa Bay with (Jim) Thome, (David) Ortiz and (Travis) Hafner and, I think, Josh Hamilton, too,” Maddon said. ”Votto right now is ungodly, so whatever you do you’re taking chances.”
Said Votto: ”No matter the alignment in the infield or outfield, I do the exact same thing. When I get caught up with what’s going on defensively is when I get myself in trouble with my approach.”
Reds: OF Scott Schebler (left shoulder strain) will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Louisville.
Cubs: SS Addison Russell (strained right foot) is eligible to come off the 10-day DL, but isn’t close to returning. ”He’s coming along slowly,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. . 2B Ben Zobrist was scratched an hour before the game with a stiff neck.
Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.70 ERA) faces rookie righty Luis Castillo (2-5, 3.73) in the second game of the four-game series Tuesday. Hendricks is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in five career starts against Cincinnati.
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