CINCINNATI (AP) — Anthony Rizzo legged out his first inside-the-park homer on Wednesday — another unusual moment in a series full of oddities — and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 for a three-game sweep that got them back on solid footing after a rough week.
The Cubs went 1-6 last week, hurt by an injury-depleted lineup and a balky bullpen. With thousands of Cubs fans in the stands at Great American Ball Park for each game, they pulled off an invigorating sweep.
The NL Central leaders won the opener 11-8 as Kris Bryant became the first major leaguer with three homers and two doubles in a game. They won 7-2 in 15 innings Tuesday night in a game that featured Javier Baez’s grand slam and three relievers playing left field alternately.
There was more wackiness in the finale.
Rizzo drove in three runs in the first inning off left-hander Cody Reed (0-2) with the Cubs’ first inside-the-park homer since 2011, when Tony Campana circled the bases against Cincinnati. Left fielder Adam Duvall cut in front of center fielder Billy Hamilton but couldn’t get to the ball, which deflected off Hamilton’s face. He was examined and left the game.
Kyle Hendricks (6-6) gave up Duvall’s 22nd homer and went 6 2/3 innings, throwing 117 pitches to rest a bullpen worn out from pitching and playing the outfield. He also drove in a run with a squeeze bunt.
Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr. had solo shots for the Cubs, who hit 10 homers during the series. Baez had three more hits on Wednesday. Rizzo’s homer gave him a 10-game hitting streak during which he’s gone 17 for 36.
The Cubs have the major leagues’ best record at 51-26. They’re 9-1 against the Reds this season and have won 12 of their last 13 against their NL Central rival.
The Cubs’ 27 runs in the series matched their second-highest total of the season for a three-game stretch.
They also turned in more good defensive plays. Right fielder Ben Zobrist threw out Joey Votto at the plate as he tried to score from second on Jay Bruce’s single in the third.
Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon gave LHP Travis Wood the day off after he played left field and pitched in relief Tuesday night.
Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips was in the lineup despite getting hit in the ribs and taking a foul off his left ankle Tuesday night. He had a single in four at-bats.
Cubs: RHP John Lackey (7-4, 3.29 ERA) opens a four-game series at New York against the Mets. He’s coming off his worst outing of the season, when he allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings of a loss at Miami last Saturday.
Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (3-6, 3.83) opens a four-game series at Washington. He has lost his last two starts, giving up seven earned runs in 11 2/3 innings. The Reds don’t play at home again until July 15.