The Reds got just what they needed to close out an overall successful 7-3 home stand,, beating the Chicago Cubs 6-0.
The Chicago Cubs looked to be the easiest opponent to master coming into the home stand. That was not the case. The Reds took three of four games from the division rival St. Louis Cardinals, then swept the West Division leaders, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It was Mike Leake's task to stop the Cubs. Cubs' starter Jeff Smardzija endeavored to continue the trend.
"Momentum comes with pitching," Dusty Baker said.
Jay Bruce singled and Todd Frazier doubled to open the second inning. Ground outs by Xavier Paul and Zack Cozart put the Reds on top 2-0.
Devin Mesoraco hit his first home run since August 3 when he hit two home runs against St. Louis. The first of his three hits on the day snapped an 0-for-13 slump.
Leake was pitching around uncharacteristic wildness. Leake walked Anthony Rizzo with two outs in the first. Nate Schierholtz doubled, sending Rizzo to third but Brian Bogusevic ground out.
"I didn't have my best stuff," Leake said. 'Sometimes you hit a few games where a couple of pitches hurt you."
Leake walked Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena in the third but pitched out of the jam. Leak left the game after giving up his fourth hit to Junior Lake. He pitched 5-2/3 innings of shutout baseball.
"It wasn't easy. They loaded their lineup with left-handed hitters," Baker said.
Jack Hannahan broke it open with his first home run of the season. The three-run shot to right was his first career pinch-hit home run.
"It was like getting the monkey off my back," Hannahan said. "The last two years I hit one opening day. I was tired of looking up there and seeing the zero in the home run column."
Hannahan played all of his career in the American League where pinch-hitters aren't needed with the designated hitter.
"This is all new to me," Hannahan said.
The blow gave the Reds bullpen some breathing room.
"Everybody was happy for Hannahan," Baker said. "It was his first home run. It was huge for us to go up 6-0."
Leake won his 13th game to set a career high. In spring training it appeared that Leake would be the odd man out when the Reds groomed Aroldis Chapman to be in the starting rotation.
"It's an accomplishment," Leake said. "You can't plan how your season is going to go. The winds have blown me in the right direction."
|Professionally edited by ML Schirmer|
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