Joey Votto homers again as the Reds beat the Cubs, win the series –

Joey Votto homered for the 6th consecutive game and made it eight home runs in that stretch as he continues a torrid run since he returned from the injured list, helping lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-4 win over the Chicago Cubs. The win sealed a Reds series win over Chicago and saw them move to 54-49 on the year.

The Offense

It didn’t take long before the Joey Votto show began. Jesse Winker smacked a 1-out double and with two outs Votto came to the plate and hit a 431-foot 2-run homer to put the Reds on top early. For the most part, though, the offense went quiet from there. That is at least until the 6th inning when the Cubs had taken a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 5th. Kyle Farmer and Joey Votto both singled to lead off the inning. Tyler Naquin then reached on an error to load the bases with no outs. Tucker Barnhart came through with a 2-run single on a grounder up the middle to give Cincinnati a 4-3 lead. That was all they would get, though, as Luis Castillo hit for himself with the bases loaded and bunted into a double play to end the inning.

The 7th inning got started with the top of the lineup and saw Jonathan India and Jesse Winker both single to put runners on 1st and 2nd for Kyle Farmer. All he did was continue his best Barry Bonds imitation in the month of July by lining a double down the right field line to bring in Jonathan India to score. Jesse Winker then scored on the play after the throw back to the infield got away from Javier Báez and the Reds extended their lead to 6-3. Farmer would score on an Aristides Aquino sacrifice fly that would make it a 7-3 game.

The Pitching

Luis Castillo was cruising along until the 4th inning when Patrick Wisdom crushed a solo home run to get the Cubs on the board. The next inning it was another home run, this time a 464-foot 2-run moon shot from Willson Contreras that put the Cubs ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the 5th inning.

After bunting into an inning ending double play in the top of the 6th, but now holding a 4-3 lead, Luis Castillo returned to the mound. The first pitch of the inning went into left field at 108 MPH for a single off of the bat of Javier Báez. After reaching a full count against Ian Happ, Castillo struck him out swinging and Tucker Barnhart turned a double play as he threw out Báez trying to steal second. Matt Duffy would ground out to short to end the inning in what would be the final batter for Castillo. He finished the day at 105 pitches while giving up three runs in 6.0 innings and striking out eight.

Brad Brach came out for the 7th inning and he went 1-2-3 against the bottom third of the lineup of the Cubs. Mychal Givens made his Reds debut in the 8th inning and it couldn’t have gone better as he struck out all three batters he faced. Heath Hembree entered the game in the 9th trying to hold onto a 7-3 lead and close the game out. He didn’t hold the lead there as a 1-out solo homer from Ian Happ made it a 7-4 game. But Hembree did close out the game as he retired the next two batters.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs New York Mets

Friday July 30, 7:10pm ET

Sonny Gray (2-6, 4.50 ERA) vs Carlos Carrasco (Has not pitched in 2021)