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Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 9, Reds 4

By Jesse Rogers


CINCINNATI -- The Chicago Cubs earned a split of the two-game series by beating the Cincinnati Reds 9-4 on Wednesday night. Here's a quick look:

How it happened: The Cubs jumped on starter Tony Cingrani as Anthony Rizzo took him deep for a two-run home run in the top of the first. It was Rizzo's fourth home run of the season. But the Reds got those runs back on a two-run double by Todd Frazier in the bottom of the inning. Brayan Pena put the Reds in front with a solo shot off of Edwin Jackson in the second. The Cubs tied it in the third on an RBI single by Starlin Castro. A groundout by Mike Olt and a sacrifice fly by Nate Schierholtz in the fifth put them back in front, but the Reds closed the gap with a run in the bottom of the inning. The Cubs finally put the game away with a four-run ninth inning as Schierholtz drove in two with a hit, Emilio Bonifacio one with a double. Jackson lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and four runs getting his second win of the year.

What it means: The first month of the season is over and the Cubs' record (9-17) is similar to last year's (10-16), but the difference is a couple of their core players have returned to form. Castro and Rizzo combined to get on base nine times in 10 plate appearances Wednesday, closing out a strong month for the two of them. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Rizzo became the second Cubs player ever to record a home run and at least four walks, and Castro finished the month with a team-leading 14 RBIs. Who saw that coming? Neil Ramirez pitched a clean eighth protecting a one-run lead at the time. He has looked very good in two appearances out of the bullpen since being called up from Triple-A Iowa.

What's next: The Cubs are off Thursday before opening a weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Game 1 is Friday at 1:20 p.m. featuring Travis Wood (1-3, 3.52) against Adam Wainwright (5-1, 1.20).