CHICAGO (AP) – Addison Russell homered at Wrigley Field for the first time since he was suspended for violating baseball’s domestic violence policy, leading the Chicago Cubs to a wild 8-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
With the wind blowing out on a warm day at the iconic neighborhood ballpark, Albert Almora Jr. and Jason Heyward also connected to help the NL Central-leading Cubs rebound from their disappointing loss in the series opener Friday. Tyler Chatwood gave Chicago’s weary bullpen a lift by working the ninth for his first save since 2017.
Tucker Barnhart hit a two-run homer for the last-place Reds, who finished with 14 hits. Yasiel Puig and Derek Dietrich also went deep.
Dietrich’s 13th homer tied it at 6 in the eighth. But the Cubs went ahead to stay on David Bote’s RBI double against Jared Hughes (2-2) in the bottom half, and Kyle Schwarber added a sacrifice fly.
Russell finished with three hits and scored twice. He was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after completing his suspension this month, but he was recalled May 8 and hit his first homer of the season May 15 at Cincinnati.
He hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning Saturday, giving the Cubs a 3-2 lead. He also had a timely bunt single in the eighth and scored on Schwarber’s fly ball to center.
Dillon Maples (1-0) got two outs for the win after he was recalled from the minors before the game.
The Cubs also got some important length from Yu Darvish, who allowed six runs and 12 hits in seven-plus innings. Manager Joe Maddon was concerned about the team’s overworked bullpen coming into the day, and Darvish pitched past the sixth for the first time this season.
Reds starter Tyler Mahle allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings.
Cincinnati had a chance for another late rally after Eugenio SuÃ¡rez hit a two-run homer in the ninth in Monday’s 5-4 victory.
The Reds scored twice in the fifth to trim the Cubs’ lead to one. SuÃ¡rez had an RBI single and Puig belted a long solo shot over the left-field bleachers.
After Heyward led off the fifth with a drive into the basket in left-center, Reds rookie Nick Senzel hit a two-out RBI single in the sixth to make it a one-run game again.
Cincinnati put its first two batters on in the ninth, but Chatwood got Jesse Winker to bounce into a double play and Puig flied out to right to end the game. It was Chatwood’s third career save, continuing a nice comeback season for the right-hander.
The Cubs recalled left-hander Tim Collins and Maples from Triple-A Iowa to bolster their bullpen. Right-hander James Norwood and outfielder Mark Zagunis were optioned to Iowa following Friday’s game.
Cubs: RHP Pedro Strop (strained left hamstring) was scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday, followed by another session on Monday or Tuesday. “He’s getting very close,” Maddon said. “Hopefully by the end of next week … whether he’s gonna go out (on rehab assignment), we should know by then.”
Reds righty Tanner Roark (3-3, 3.51 ERA) faces lefty Jose Quintana (4-3, 3.30 ERA) Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. Roark, who is from nearby Wilmington, Illinois, is 4-1 with a 3.03 ERA in six games at Wrigley Field. Quintana allowed three runs in five innings at Cincinnati on May 16.
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