Happ's 3-run double and Imanaga's strong start help Cubs avoid sweep with 4-2 win over Reds

CINCINNATI -- — Ian Happ drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double in the first inning and Shota Imanaga had another strong start as the Chicago Cubs ended the Cincinnati Reds' seven-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory on Sunday.

“We pitched really well today,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “Really good at-bats in the first inning. And we got a big hit. We didn’t get big hits most of the day, unfortunately.”

The two teams have been going in opposite directions. The Reds have won 12 of 16 while the Cubs have lost 12 of 16.

The Reds who won the first three games in the series, haven't swept the Cubs in a four-game series since 2018.

Imanaga (6-1) has allowed 12 runs (eight earned) over his past two starts. On Sunday, he allowed two earned runs in 6 2/3 with a walk and seven strikeouts.

“The best pitchers in the game give up hits,” Counsell said. “He fooled us into thinking it never happens.”

Seiya Suzuki returned to the Cubs lineup and went 3 for 5 with a double and run scored. He missed Saturday's game after being hit in the back by a throw on Friday.

Reds starter Frankie Montas (3-5) was coming off his best outing of the season allowing one hit in seven innings at Colorado on Tuesday. But the Cubs hit him hard Sunday.

Happ snapped an 0-for-11 skid with a bases-loaded double that drove in three runs.

“Up three in the first, takes the pressure off a little bit,” Happ said. “We had a lot of chances today. Scored four, could’ve been a lot more. Just keep building off that.”

Montas needed 39 pitches to get through the first inning.

The Cubs added a fourth run in the second on Michael Tauchman's RBI single. Montas exited after allowing four earned runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings.

“It was one of those you’re not in sync with your body," Montas said. "The mechanics mess with you. I couldn’t throw the fastball up when I wanted. My arm is healthy. My next bullpen I will figure why. I’ll just flip the page.”

Reds catcher Luke Maile launched his second homer of the season on Imanaga's first pitch of the third to make the score 4-1.

“I executed better on what I’m good at, fastball and the changeup down,” Imanaga said through a translator. “If we’re winning or we’re losing, my job’s still the same. Just go out there and pitch.”

Carson Spiers, recalled from Triple-A prior to the game, tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Montas to keep the score close.

The Cubs left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth. But Héctor Neris retired the Reds in order in the bottom half for his ninth save of the season.


Cubs: 2B Nico Hoerner remained out of the lineup after fracturing a bone in his right hand when he was hit by a pitch on Thursday. He did light activity on Sunday and will be evaluated following Monday's off day.

Reds: RHP Emilio Pagán (right lat strain) was placed on the 15-day injured list.


Cubs: Right-hander Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.47 ERA) will start Tuesday's series opener in Tampa Bay.

Reds: The starter has not been announced for Tuesday's opener of a two-game series against Cleveland.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb