CHICAGO (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds haven’t been beating anyone too often this season let alone the major league-leading Cubs so Billy Hamilton could appreciate Tuesday’s victory.
“Everybody wants to beat the Cubs,” he said. “They’re the best team in baseball. We know we can beat those guys. This was a big day for us.”
Zack Cozart hit his 13th home run, and the Reds beat the struggling Cubs 9-5.
Cozart homered in his second straight game, delivering a two-run shot off John Lackey in the second inning. He also doubled and scored in the fourth.
Joey Votto added two RBIs. Jay Bruce homered. Hamilton had two hits and scored two runs as the Reds beat the Cubs for the second time in 12 games this season after nearly blowing a 5-0 lead. Cincinnati won for just the third time in 14 games overall.
Lackey’s winless streak stretched to five starts for Chicago, and manager Joe Maddon was ejected for the second time this season.
Lackey (7-5) allowed six runs — five earned — six hits and five walks in six innings, dropping to 0-3 in his past five starts. The Cubs have lost five of their last six games and 10 of 15.
Maddon got tossed in the second. David Ross was batting, took a 3-0 pitch and started heading to first, only for plate umpire Jerry Meals to call a strike. Maddon got tossed by Meals as he protested from the dugout, then came out for a spirited argument that lasted a few more minutes.
“It was pretty much the culmination of other calls that were going against us recently at the plate,” he said. “I think it kind of boiled over in that moment. I haven’t had a day off in a while.”
Kris Bryant hit his major league-leading 25th home run for Chicago. Addison Russell went deep twice, giving him giving him three homers in the past two games. Javier Baez also connected against Brandon Finnegan (4-7).
Finnegan gave up five runs and five hits in five innings, including four homers that matched Jon Moscot’s season-high for Cincinnati at Colorado on May 31. He had lasted a career-low 2 1/3 innings against Washington in his previous start.
Bryant, Baez and Russell all connected in a four-run third. Russell added a solo drive in the fifth that cut it to 6-5.
Votto made it a two-run game with an RBI double off Travis Wood in the seventh and Bruce bumped the lead to 9-5 with a two-run drive against Pedro Strop in the ninth.
Raisel Iglesias pitched two-hit ball over three scoreless innings in relief for Cincinnati. Suburban Chicago product Tony Cingrani, celebrating his 27th birthday, worked the ninth.
BRUCE GOES DEEP
Bruce became the 14th major leaguer to hit at least 18 homers in each of his first nine seasons.
Reds: Reliever Jumbo Diaz was available after getting a day off because of a sore right ankle. The right-hander was struck by a line drive at Washington on Sunday.
Cubs: Bryant, who started at third base, was still a little sore following Monday’s outfield collision with CF Albert Almora Jr. He bruised his lower left leg while making a catch in left in the fifth when Almora ran into him, and he exited in the bottom half. Bryant acknowledged the season-ending knee injury Kyle Schwarber sustained in a collision playing left field in early April crossed his mind. “Anytime it’s with the knee and it goes the way it’s not supposed to go, it’s scary,” he said. “Sitting there on the ground, it looked straight to me so I was like, ‘Maybe it’s not too bad.’”
RHP Adam Warren (3-1, 4.56 ERA) is to make a spot start for Chicago after getting stretched out in the minors while RHP Anthony DeSclafani (2-0, 1.78) is to pitch for Cincinnati.