Lowly Cubs look for series win against Reds

MLB Baseball

The Chicago Cubs cleared one big hurdle in snapping a 12-game losing streak and now they try to win a series for the first time in nearly three weeks.

The visiting Cubs, losers of 18 of 21 games, will be looking for their first series win since July 23-25 when they play the Cincinnati Reds in the finale of the three-game series Wednesday afternoon.

Kyle Hendricks limited the Reds to just three hits and one run over six innings in becoming the majors’ first 14-game winner in a 2-1 victory over Cincinnati Tuesday. The Cubs’ bullpen combined for three scoreless innings as the team avoided getting closer to their franchise record of 14 consecutive losses.

“It was a good feeling in the clubhouse,” said Hendricks. “Obviously, with what we’ve been going through lately just to finally see a result.”

“I thought that was an all-around clean game for us,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Good pitching is going to prevail in that. Kyle giving us the start he did was huge. It starts with your starting pitching, getting that kind of performance from him. Working out of the jam there late was really nice and then the bullpen holding it down.”

It’s been another productive visit back to Cincinnati for Ian Happ, who attended the University of Cincinnati. Happ was 3-for-4 Tuesday, with a solo homer in the sixth inning to make it a 2-0 lead. Happ has 12 homers in his career at Great American Ball Park, his most in any visiting ballpark.

“Looks like he’s found his rhythm (over) the last little bit,” Ross said of Happ. “He seems to be taking some better swings. So hopefully he can continue to do that, but that’s a really nice sign from him.”

One night after scoring 14 runs for a major league-leading 18th double-digit scoring performance, the Reds could only muster one run on five hits and missed on a bases-loaded chance in the seventh.

“We had the top of our order up right there,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Have to give Cubs pitching credit.”

Nick Castellanos homered for the 21st time in the sixth inning off Hendricks, but the Reds couldn’t find the equalizer.

“First two at-bats against Hendricks, made some tough pitches,” Bell said. “That’s what he does, continues to compete and adjust.”

While Castellanos is coming back strong from his injury, Mike Moustakas has struggled badly since collecting three hits in his first game back on Aug. 6. He is just 4-for-25 in nine games back from the 60-day injury list.

“It’s going to come. He probably doesn’t want to hear this, it’s tough to come back from an injury,” Bell said after Moustakas’ 0-for-3 Tuesday night. “Your timing has to catch back up. That will come with time.”

The Reds will send Tyler Mahle (10-3, 3.58 ERA) to the mound in the series finale. In last Friday’s 6-1 win at Philadelphia, Mahle threw seven innings in the longest scoreless appearance of his career. Mahle has faced 54 consecutive batters since he last issued a walk, covering 14 2/3 innings.

Mahle will be making his fifth start of the season against the Cubs, posting a 2-0 mark with a 3.00 ERA in his four previous starts. Lifetime, Mahle is 5-2 with a 3.16 ERA in 12 starts against the Cubs.

The Cubs will counter with right-hander Adrian Sampson, making his debut with the team and returning to the majors for the first time since 2019. Sampson, who had stints with Seattle (2016) and Texas (2018-19), signed a minor league deal with the Cubs back in May and has made 14 starts out of 16 total appearances at Triple-A this season, posting a 4.96 ERA over 81 2/3 innings.

–Field Level Media

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