Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (6/9/24): Cubs 4, Reds 2 – Nice Pitching Performances Help Avoid Sweep

The Cubs were trying to get something to go right this weekend in Cincinnati and it finally happened as they were able to avoid a sweep Sunday afternoon. They jumped ahead early and the pitching was able to protect the lead despite numerous missed opportunities for the offense to add to the advantage in the late innings.

The Cubs applied pressure to starter Frankie Montas in the opening frame with two walks sandwiched around a Seiya Suzuki double to load the bases with one out for Ian Happ. The left fielder lined a double of his own into the right field corner to clear the bases and put the road team up 3-0.

Miguel Amaya hit a two-bagger in the top of the 2nd inning and came in to score on a Mike Tauchman RBI single to increase the margin to 4-0. Shōta Imanaga pitched much more like he was earlier in the season, allowing only a solo home run from catcher Luke Maile through the first six frames.

The North Siders could not expand on their 4-1 lead despite numerous scoring chances and ended up going 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. Imanaga ran into trouble with three consecutive singles in the bottom of the 7th that cut the advantage to 4-2, but he retired two batters before Mark Leiter Jr. got the final out of the frame to escape the jam.

Leiter pitched a scoreless 8th inning and Héctor Neris surprisingly went 1-2-3 in the 9th to seal a badly needed 4-2 victory for the Cubs. (Box score)

Key Moment

Santiago Espinal tried to stretch his RBI single into a double in the 7th inning. Happ unleashed a very accurate throw from left and second baseman David Bote slapped the tag on Espinal for the first out of the frame. Chicago was able to retire the next two hitters and strand a runner at third to maintain their lead.

Why the Cubs Won

They jumped out to an early lead and got quality pitching performances across the board.

Stats That Matter

  • Imanaga pitched aggressively with the lead and shook off his two consecutive bad outings: 6.2 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 7 K, and 1 BB.
  • Dansby Swanson had a single and a double and appears to finally be digging out of his early-season slump.
  • Suzuki had three hits and it’s good to see that he wasn’t significantly injured after getting hit in the back on Friday.

Bottom Line

It was nice to have a Cubs win with comparably less drama than most of the recent contests. Still, the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position is a problem and Chicago was fortunate it did not come back to hurt them Sunday. It’s also a bit of a relief that Imanaga bounced back from a couple of hiccups because they really need him going forward.

On Deck

After a day off on Monday, the Cubs head to St. Petersburg to begin a three-game series with the Rays on Tuesday at 5:40pm CT. Jameson Taillon gets the start and Tampa has not named a starting pitcher for the contest yet, with a broadcast available on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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