Cubs hit 3 HRs, break loose to beat Reds
CHICAGO – Rick Renteria prefers positive reinforcement, usually taking the approach of building up his players.
But following another loss and ho-hum effort on Friday, the new Cubs manager had seen enough and let the players know their intensity and focus was unacceptable.
"I think when Ricky talks and shows emotion, it means something," Darwin Barney said. "He doesn't do it every often. We know he's got our back and he's on our side. When he shows a little fire, it usually works."
It certain did Saturday.
Barney and Welington Castillo hit two-run homers and Mike Olt added a solo shot as the Cubs broke out of a weeklong offensive funk and beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-4.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Cubs.
Since scoring four times last Sunday in St. Louis, the Cubs had managed just one run before beating the Reds. Cincinnati had won 16 of the last 17 at Wrigley Field.
"I think the intensity was better," Renteria said. "Obviously, the results were better. But had the results not been there, I think the way they went about it was significantly better than yesterday."
Emilio Bonifacio had three hits and scored a pair of runs for the Cubs. Junior Lake, Starlin Castro and Justin Ruggiano each drove in a run.
Edwin Jackson (1-1) allowed two runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"He battled and got into a little trouble there," Renteria said. "But all in all, he kept working. ... He showed some intensity and he showed some fight."
Tony Cingrani (1-2) gave up three runs in five innings.
Jay Bruce went 3 for 3 with a walk for the Reds.
"I've been battling myself the last couple of starts and I'm just trying to find that command and my consistent mechanics," Cingrani said. "It just hasn't been working that well the last couple of starts."
Bonifacio led off the bottom of the first with a single, went to second on a walk to Lake and came home on a single by Ruggiano.
Olt stretched the lead to 2-0 when he led off the second with his third homer of the season, and Castro drove in Bonifacio in the third to make it 3-0.
Jackson kept Cincinnati off the board until the sixth, when Devin Mesoraco doubled home Bruce. Zack Cozart made it 3-2 with an RBI grounder.
Barney homered in the bottom of the sixth, the first shot of the season for the light-hitting second baseman. Lake added an RBI single later in the inning.
An error by Olt at first base on a routine grounder helped the Reds score twice in the seventh. Castillo homered in the bottom half.
"The guys hit the ball well when we needed it," Renteria said. "They picked us up a little bit."
NOTES: Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo left the game in the eighth inning with back spasms. He said tweaked it stretching for a pickoff throw and has had similar issues in the past. "I felt a little bit of it (Friday)," he said. "With this, it'll probably be gone tomorrow or the next day. It's weird." . Reds 2B Brandon Phillips was back in the lineup after leaving Friday's game in the third inning because of back spasms. "As far as I know he didn't have any lower back issues until he took that swing off (Jeff) Samardzija, so my feeling is once he gets past that he won't have to do anything to maintain it," manager Bryan Price said. ... Reds OF Ryan Ludwick sat out Saturday after fouling a ball off his left foot during Friday's game and sustaining a bruised toe. X-rays were negative, but Price is not certain when Ludwick will be able to play. ... Reds RHP Homer Bailey (0-1) faces RHP Carlos Villanueva (1-3) in the series finale on Sunday.