EditorsNote: rewords fifth and eighth grafs
Joey Votto ripped an RBI single to highlight a four-hit performance, and Sonny Gray tossed 6 1/3 strong innings as the host Cincinnati Reds recorded a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
Phillip Ervin belted a homer to lead off the second inning, and rookie Nick Senzel had a two-run double to ignite a four-run fourth for the Reds, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
Jason Heyward launched a two-run homer in the seventh inning for Chicago, which saw starter Cole Hamels (6-3) depart after tossing a warm-up pitch prior to the start of the second. The Cubs announced that Hamels, 35, felt something in his left side.
Mike Montgomery replaced Hamels and promptly saw Ervin deposit his first-pitch fastball over the wall in left field to stake Cincinnati to a 2-0 lead. The homer was Ervin’s first of the season and the 11th in his career.
Senzel atoned for an earlier baserunning blunder by slapping a two-run double past the outstretched glove of left fielder Kyle Schwarber to give the Reds a 4-0 advantage in the fourth. Senzel didn’t stay on second for long, as Votto hit an RBI single to right field for his 1,800th career hit.
Jose Iglesias, who opened the scoring with an RBI fielder’s choice in the first inning, drove in his second run of the contest with a sacrifice fly to cap the uprising in the fourth.
Votto added his fourth single of the night in the sixth inning to notch his 24th career four-hit performance and first since May 6, 2018.
Gray (4-5), who allowed two runs on four hits, improved to 4-1 in his past seven starts. He fanned five of the first six batters he faced and finished with six strikeouts and one walk.
Heyward’s 12th homer of the season chased Gray, and a sacrifice fly by Albert Almora Jr. trimmed Chicago’s deficit to 6-3 in the seventh.
Amir Garrett and Michael Lorenzen combined to complete the eighth inning before the latter pitched around a single in the ninth to secure his fifth save of the season.
Former All-Star Scooter Gennett went 1-for-4 with an infield single in the seventh inning in his season debut for the Reds. He had been out since sustaining a strained right groin on March 22.
—Field Level Media