Observations: Cubs beat Reds, clinch first series win since July

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Observations: Cubs power way to first series win since July originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Goodbye losing streak. Hello, winning streak?

After snapping their 12-game skid Tuesday, the Cubs beat the Reds for the second straight game Wednesday, the first time they've won consecutive games in nearly a month.

Here are 10 observations from the 7-1 win.

1. This is the first time the Cubs won back-to-back games since July 25-26 and their third series win since finishing a sweep of the Cardinals on June 13. The last two series win came against the Diamondbacks.

"It feels nice," manager David Ross said. "When you go into each series, that's the goal. We want to win every game, but at the end of it, if you can come out of there with a series win, you feel really good."

2. According to Ross, Nico Hoerner was screaming, “Never leave Cincinnati without a homer,” in the dugout after Ian Happ went deep Tuesday — taking after Kyle Schwarber, who used to say that when he played for the Cubs.

How about two home runs? Happ hit a solo blast in the second inning.

3. Happ has had a rough season at the plate but showed encouraging signs this road trip. He hit .333 (7-for-21) in six games with three home runs. He’s one home run away from matching his most in a single month this season.

4. Adrian Sampson pitched four solid innings in a spot start after injuries and roster moves left the Cubs shorthanded in the rotation. Sampson, called up from Triple-A Iowa pregame, held the Reds to one run (a solo home run) and five hits in his first start since Aug. 3, 2019.

"He pounded the zone really well," Ross said. "He moved the ball in and out, seemed to keep their hitters off balance. Was able to use both sides of the plate really well, I thought."

5. Michael Hermosillo’s hot bat earned him a big-league callup and he picked up where he left off with Iowa. The outfielder crushed a no-doubt home run to the second deck in left field, his first hit with the Cubs. He’s gone deep in six of his last 11 games between the Cubs and Triple-A.

6. That was Hermosillo’s second career big-league home run and first since September 2018, when he played for the Angels. Coincidentally, that first came off Sampson, who was then pitching for the Rangers.

"I never mentioned it to [Sampson]," Hermosillo said, laughing. "Not once. I may have mentioned it to a couple teammates in Triple-A that I was close with. 

“But I feel like that wasn’t something I was going to bring up. If he wanted to bring it up, sure. But I was going to leave that one alone.”

Sergio Alcántara added a solo blast in the sixth, the Cubs’ third home run of the game.

7. Ross highlighted Frank Schwindel’s all-fields approach after his 2-for-4 game Tuesday. He went 2-for-4 again Wednesday, lining a double to center field and adding a single to right.

8. Schwindel was one of the few bright spots during the Cubs’ 12-game losing streak and has been on a tear since joining the club last month. He has an extra-base hit in seven straight games. In 17 games with the Cubs, he’s slashing .390/.429/.729.

9. The Cubs are not only evaluating their young starting pitchers the rest of the season, but also young relievers. Manny Rodríguez pitched two innings for the first time in the big leagues, allowing a walk in his fourth straight scoreless appearance. He struck out three, a career high.

10. On the note of relievers, veteran Adam Morgan continues to do good work out of the bullpen. He tossed a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts, lowering his ERA since July 17 to 0.77.

The lefty has allowed one earned run in his last 11 2/3 innings (15 appearances), striking out 18 with four walks.

On deck: The Cubs have Thursday off before opening a three-game series Friday against the Royals. First pitch is 1:20 p.m. Zach Davies (6-9, 5.00) is the Cubs’ probable starter. Kansas City’s is TBD.

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