Observations: Cubs extend winning streak, David Bote goes down

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Observations: Cubs extend winning streak, injury trend originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs beat the Reds 10-2 Saturday, extending their winning streak to a season-high six games.

As the game ended, the Cubs tied the Cardinals with the best record in the NL Central (29-22). St. Louis plays at Arizona later Saturday evening.

With Saturday’s win, the Cubs claimed the series, logging their fifth series victory in a row.

Here are 10 observations from the game:

1. The Cubs’ first two runs were unearned, manufactured with contact and aggressive base running. Cubs catcher Willson Contreras led off the second inning with a single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. Then, David Bote hit a ground ball to Reds shortstop Eugenio Suárez. Contreras got caught between second and third base, but Suárez sailed a throw past third base. The next batter, Eric Sogard, beat out a ground ball single to Suárez, and Contreras scored.

2. The Cubs scored their second run of the inning on a bunt from Cubs pitcher Zach Davies. Reds first baseman Alex Blandino fielded the bunt and hesitated, allowing Davies to reach first base safely after the run scored.

3. Davies faced the minimum through three innings. He gave up a single in the first inning but induced an inning-ending double play. Davies was charged with just one run in five-plus innings on the mound. He walked Cincinnati leadoff hitter Eugenio Suárez to start the sixth inning, and Cubs manager David Ross pulled the right-hander before he faced the rest of the lineup for a third time.

4. Cubs left-handed reliever Rex Brothers made his first appearance in 10 days, replacing Davies in the sixth. The rust showed. Brothers walked two and struck out one.

5. Cubs rookie Keegan Thompson took over for Brothers. He gave up a two-run double to Tyler Stephenson, knotting the game at 2-2. The first run was charged to Davies, but the second run ended the Cubs bullpen’s streak of 38.1 innings without allowing an earned run. It was the fifth longest streak of its kind in the divisional era.

6. Patience pays off. Ian Happ and Willson Contreras walked to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning for the Cubs. Then, Reds reliever Amir Garrett replaced starter Luis Castillo. Cubs hitters Patrick Wisdom and Eric Sogard continued the trend, working free passes to push the go-ahead run across the plate.

7. Joc Pederson’s and Kris Bryant’s bats stayed hot for the Cubs, hitting back-to-back singles to drive in three more runs in the sixth inning. The pair then started an eighth-inning rally, stringing together five straight singles with Javy Báez, Ian Happ and Willson Contreras. Bryant extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the Cubs’ longest streak since July 2019 (Anthony Rizzo, 13 games).

8. Speaking of hitting streaks, at Wrigley Field on Saturday, former Cubs fan favorite Nick Castellanos extended his own streak to 15 games, the longest active streak in MLB.

9. The Cubs’ injury replacements continue to perform. Outfielder Rafael Ortega hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, his first homer as a Cub.

10. Bote left the game in the fourth inning with an injured left shoulder. He appeared to hurt it sliding past second base. The Cubs did not announce a more specific diagnosis during the game, saying Bote was undergoing further evaluation.

On deck: The Cubs close the three-game series with the Reds on Sunday. Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta is scheduled to go toe-to-toe with Cincinnati righty Tyler Mahle.

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