Javy Báez homers twice, Cubs stay hot with 8-5 win over Reds

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CINCINNATI — Javier Báez homered twice, doubled and scored on a deft dive to the plate, Alec Mills went six solid innings, and the Cubs extended their strong opening surge, beating the Cincinnati Reds 8-5 on Tuesday night.

“When Javy plays well, it’s infectious for the team,” noted Cubs manager David Ross. “The good teams I’ve been on, each night it’s a different guy. So far, it’s been that way for us – a different guy every night. We still haven’t gotten some other guys going.”

The North Siders have won four of their first five games, scoring first in each one. Jason Kipnis’ triple — Shogo Akiyama lost it in the sun — got the Cubs going again.

Mills (1-0) added to Chicago’s stretch of impressive starts. Mills, who made four spot starts last season, held the Reds to two hits in six innings. Chicago’s starters have a 1.80 ERA and a .131 opponent batting average this season.

The Reds got two-run homers by Nick Castellanos — his first since signing a $64 million deal — and Freddy Galvis but fell to 1-4, tied for the worst start in the majors.

Báez had a solo shot and a two-run homer as the Cubs pulled away.

Kipnis tripled in the third off Tyler Mahle — Akiyama lost sight of the ball in center field — and scored on Nico Hoerner’s single. Kipnis added an RBI single an inning later.

Akiyama was in center field for Nick Senzel, who missed his third game because of sickness. The Reds had no update on his condition Tuesday. Senzel remains on the active roster.

Matt Davidson went on the injured list Saturday after testing for the coronavirus. Senzel and Mike Moustakas felt sick a day later, and the Reds put Moustakas on the injured list.

Castellanos tied it 2-2 with his first homer, but Báez put the Cubs back ahead in the fifth with a double off Cody Reed (0-1) followed by a great dive. He scored from second on Kyle Schwarber’s single to left, besting Aristides Aquino’s perfect throw by stretching his left hand over the corner of the plate to avoid the tag, putting Chicago ahead to stay.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Kris Bryant got a day out of the starting lineup because of a sore left elbow. Manager David Ross said the injury isn’t serious.

Reds: Cather Tucker Barnhart was reinstated from the paternity list. Right-hander Robert Stephenson went on the 10-day injured list with a strained back.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (1-0) threw a three-hit shutout against the Brewers, becoming the first Cub since 1974 with a shutout in a season opener. He’s 6-3 in 17 career starts against the Reds with a 3.84 ERA.

Reds: Sonny Gray (1-0) tries to extend his major league record streak of 34 consecutive starts without allowing more than six hits. He’s 3-1 in five career starts against the Cubs with a 2.70 ERA.

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