Cubs Observations: Adbert Alzolay battles to take down Reds

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Observations: Alzolay battles, Cubs extend win streak originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs beat the Reds 1-0 Friday, their fifth straight win, to improve to 28-22 this season.

Here are 10 observations from the game.

1. Adbert Alzolay battled to give the Cubs 5 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old worked around traffic in each of the first three innings, including two second-and-third, two-out jams, to keep things scoreless.

2. A gusty Wrigley Field wind helped both sides in the third. Tucker Barnhart’s ground-rule double off Alzolay may have been a home run another day. Jesse Winker made a great catch on Joc Pederson’s well-struck fly ball that likewise may have been gone on another day.

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3. Alzolay just keeps racking up career firsts. Last Saturday, he threw seven innings for the first time in the big leagues. Friday, he threw 103 pitches, a new career high. It’s the first time he’s thrown 100+ in the big leagues.

4. The only way to get a ball into the bleachers with wind like Friday’s is hitting it low and on a line. David Bote offered a perfect demonstration in the fifth, putting the Cubs ahead 1-0 on a 110.3 mph smash to the left field basket.

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5. For a split-second, it looked like Javy Báez was going to try something improbable again. Báez’ single in the fourth trickled only a few feet from third baseman Max Schrock’s glove after a diving stop. Schrock got up slowly and with no urgency, and Báez took a significant turn around first base before retreating.

6. The Cubs bullpen can’t be stopped. Andrew Chafin, Tommy Nance and Craig Kimbrel extended the Cubs’ 'pen's scoreless streak to 38 innings, a span of 12 games.

7. Nance was a story straight out of a Hollywood script 10 days ago. Friday, he dominated in a big spot, retiring the Reds in order in the eighth inning to preserve a 1-0 Cubs lead.

8. Kris Bryant has been raking all season, but he's been especially hot lately. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

9. The Cubs play a lot of close games. Friday is their 15th game of 24 this month decided by one run. They're 8-7 in those games.

10. A palpable buzz was felt at Wrigley in the first game with 60 percent fan capacity, although the attendance was below that figure on a cold and windy day. However, 18,478 fans marked the highest attendance at the Friendly Confines since September 2019.

Bonus: The Cubs are a season-high six games above .500 and back tied for first in the NL Central, pending Friday night's Cardinals game.

On deck: The Reds and Cubs return to action Saturday behind probable starters Luis Castillo (1-7, 7.61 ERA) and Zach Davies (2-2, 4.96 ERA). First pitch is 1:20 p.m.

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