Schwarber's no-doubter lifts Cubs over Reds

Schwarber's no-doubter lifts Cubs over Reds

CHICAGO -- Rookie Kyle Schwarber belted a two-run homer with two outs in the seventh and Kris Bryant drove in two runs to lead the Cubs to a 5-4 victory Tuesday night over the Reds for their second win in the last seven games.

"It was a really big win for us tonight," Chicago starter Dan Haren said. "We're down to 30 or so games left and every one is so important. It was really important to get that win."

Maddon on bullpen in Cubs' win

With the win, the Cubs maintained their hold on the second National League Wild Card spot, 4 1/2 games behind the Pirates.

Schwarber's homer, which came off Burke Badenhop, was his 12th since he was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on July 17, and second most in the NL since the All-Star break. Bryant hit a pair of RBI singles for the Cubs, including one in the sixth when they tied the game at 3. Bryant now has 82 RBIs, tops among all Major League rookies.

Cincinnati's Joey Votto hit a solo home run and an RBI double and Eugenio Suarez smacked a tie-breaking home run in the seventh off new Chicago reliever Fernando Rodney. Cubs manager Joe Maddon wasn't too concerned about Suarez's shot.

Suarez's solo homer

"The hitter threw the bat down like he thought it was a pop up -- Wrigley [Field] got us tonight," Maddon said.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Disco bat: It was a 1-1 game in the fifth when Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart hit a one-out double against Haren. Next came starter Anthony DeSclafani, who lined a single into left field. As it was fielded by Schwarber, third-base coach Jim Riggleman waved home Barnhart, who slid and touched the plate just ahead of catcher Miguel Montero's tag It was the first hit by a Reds pitcher since Raisel Iglesias on Aug. 18, snapping a 0-for-26 skid for the staff. It was the first RBI for a Reds pitcher since Michael Lorenzen on July 26.

DeSclafani's RBI single

Home sweet home: There's no place like Wrigley Field for Bryant, who went 3-for-4 and is 15-for-30 with four homers and 12 RBIs over his last eight home games. The Cubs haven't done much rallying. During their three-game series against the Dodgers, they were 0-for-18 with runners in scoring position.

Bryant's second RBI single

"He's playing with a lot of confidence right now," Maddon said of Bryant. "He doesn't care who's pitching, what the count is, his defense, third base, outfield -- he's just all about winning. For a young guy, he's one of the best baseball players I've been around."

Start me up: Haren served up Votto's homer, and now has given up one in each of his last nine starts while the Reds first baseman has reached safely in 21 straight games. It was the 30th homer off the right-hander, most in the Majors. Haren was pulled after throwing 73 pitches over five innings. It's the sixth time in the last eight games in which a Cubs starter has been unable to post a quality start; Jake Arrieta has the only two in that stretch. Since the All-Star break, the Cubs have had 18 quality starts and 26 non-quality starts.

Votto's 26th homer

"It's not April, it's not May, it's not June -- we're not trying to develop, we're trying to win," Maddon said of pulling Haren after five innings rather than keeping him in the game. "[Haren] gets it. He's a professional."

Suarez homer, then nothing: After Chicago evened the game in the sixth, Suarez gave the Reds another lead, albeit temporarily. The shortstop hit a 2-2 pitch from Rodney and it carried into the left-center-field seats. Besides giving Cincinnati a 4-3 lead, it extended Suarez's career-high homer total to 11. But the offense stopped there as Cubs relievers retired the final nine batters in a row.

"You really want to keep the back end guys out of the game, if you can," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "You know you're going to get [Pedro] Strop in the eighth and [Hector] Rondon in the ninth. They're both throwing the ball so well. It certainly gave them a lift, I'm sure. … We just weren't able to have that big inning [earlier] that gave us the distance that we needed."

QUOTABLE
"I started feeling it there a little in the sixth inning. My calves started cramping, but it's not an excuse. It's hot out there for everybody. I kept them out there way too long. I thought it was a tough game. We fought to the end." -- DeSclafani, on the heat and a two-run bottom of the sixth inning. He allowed three earned runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings for a no-decision

DeSclafani fans seven

"We want to win a World Series and that's our goal. Playing games like this is a blast." -- Bryant

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Badenhop entered the night having 49 2/3 innings since he last allowed a home run on April 21. It was the fourth-longest active streak in the Majors until Schwarber snapped it. It was the third homer of the season the reliever has given up. More >

Bryant leads the Cubs with 82 RBIs. The last Cubs rookie to lead the team in RBIs in a single season was Ray Grimes, who drove in 79 in 1921. Bryant also has 40 RBIs with two outs, the most by a rookie since Garrett Atkins totaled 44 two-out RBIs in 2005 with the Rockies.

WHAT'S NEXT
Reds: Iglesias has a 2.27 ERA over his last six starts and will be trying to stay on a roll when he pitches Wednesday vs. the Cubs at 2:20 p.m. ET. He became only the third Reds rookie to record double-digit strikeouts in consecutive outings when he K'd 13 and 10, respectively, his last two starts.

Cubs: Jason Hammel will start the series finale Wednesday, making his third start against the Reds. He does not have a decision in either of his previous outings against Cincinnati, giving up three earned runs over 10 innings. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.