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Jun 9, 2024 3:43 am

Reds look to finish 4-game sweep of Cubs

Frankie Montas

The Cincinnati Reds look to complete a rare four-game sweep and extend their winning streak to eight games when they close out their series with the visiting Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

After starting the season 1-11 in one-run games, the Reds won their third in eight days Saturday, 4-3, over the Cubs, who went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and missed chances to tie the score in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings.

With a win Sunday, the Reds can reach the .500 mark for the first time since they were 16-16. In winning 12 of 15, the Reds have vaulted from the basement of the National League Central to sole possession of second behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

Justin Wilson closed the door on his first save since Sept. 22, 2019, by retiring the final two batters, sending the Cubs to their 12th loss in 16 games.

Only one of Cincinnati’s four runs came with two outs Saturday but still, the Reds have scored 33 of their last 49 runs with two outs during the seven-game streak.

“It’s not like a concerted effort to only try to score with two outs,” Reds manager David Bell said. “But it does speak to the inning’s never over, the game’s never over. You just keep playing the game. It’s one pitch at a time. You get one hit, you can run the bases, you might be able to get into scoring position. Just getting on base any way we can and keep creating the opportunities.”

It’s been a rough series for Chicago catching. On Friday, Elly De La Cruz advanced to third with two outs and Spencer Steer reached first with two outs when 25-year-old prospect Miguel Amaya couldn’t handle a third strike. On Saturday, the Reds stole two more bases against 36-year-old veteran Yan Gomes and Amaya.

“Miggy’s gone through a couple of different phases here,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s gone through an unlucky phase. He’s gone through a chasing phase. Missing pitches to hit. We’re just going to keep going. I think big league at-bats for Miguel is a great teacher right now and, at his experience level, he will improve.”

The Reds send right-hander Frankie Montas (3-4, 4.00 ERA) to the mound, making his 12th start of the season.

In his last start on Tuesday at Colorado, Montas earned the win in Cincinnati’s 4-1 victory by allowing just one hit over seven shutout innings, striking out nine and walking two. Elias Diaz broke up the no-hit bid with a seventh-inning double. Montas will be making his first career start against the Cubs.

The Cubs counter with lefty Shota Imanaga (5-1, 1.88), who has turned into Chicago’s ace through 11 starts so far this season.

Imanaga earned a no-decision in his last outing, giving up five runs (one earned) in 4 1/3 innings before a 42-minute rain delay against the White Sox last Tuesday.

Prior to that, the southpaw suffered the first loss of his career May 29 in Milwaukee against the Brewers, getting tagged for seven runs over 4 1/3 innings. Imanaga will be making his first career start against Cincinnati.

–Field Level Media

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