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Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 7, Reds 3

By Sahadev Sharma
Special to ESPNChicago.com.



CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs registered a 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

How it happened: Anthony Rizzo broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with a solo home run, and Welington Castillo added to the lead in the fifth with an RBI double to put the Cubs up 2-0. The Cubs added two more in the sixth.

But the story of the night was Jake Arrieta and his dominant performance on the mound. Arrieta tossed six perfect innings before giving up a leadoff single in the seventh to Billy Hamilton. The Reds plated two in the inning, with Devin Mesoraco and Jay Bruce both delivering RBI hits. Arrieta ended the evening with seven strong innings and gave up just three hits and two runs while striking out nine and walking none.

The Cubs tacked on three runs in the eighth, and the bullpen did the rest. However, Neil Ramirez did allow a ninth-inning home run to Mesoraco, which gave the Reds catcher five consecutive games with a home run and tied a franchise record.

What it means: Arrieta has been getting better every time he's taken the mound for the Cubs this season, culminating in Tuesday's brilliant performance. Although there is still a long way to go in the season and in his career, Arrieta finally is starting to show the consistency and command that eluded him early in his career, when he was a much-hyped prospect with the Baltimore Orioles. His development will certainly soften the blow if and when the Cubs deal their other two strong rotation pieces, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.

Outside the box: The Cubs’ top two prospects, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, were both named to the Futures Game on Tuesday. Bryant celebrated by getting his fifth hit at Triple-A Iowa -- all five them home runs. Bryant is slugging (again: slugging, not on-base plus slugging) a slightly crazy .952. Yes, it's only six games, but impressive nonetheless for the young hitter. Baez went 1-for-2 with two walks and no strikeouts, a very good sign for the often overly aggressive shortstop as he attempts to strengthen his plate approach.

Up next: The Cubs send Edwin Jackson to the mound against Mat Latos on Wednesday night as the North Siders attempt to take the rubber match in this three-game set.