Digital Access

Digital Access
Access daily-chronicle.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Cubs

Rizzo celebrates, Cubs beat Reds for biggest lead

The Cubs' Nicholas Castellanos (left) celebrates with Anthony Rizzo after hitting a solo home run off Cincinnati Reds starter Alex Wood during the third inning on Thursday in Cincinnati.
The Cubs' Nicholas Castellanos (left) celebrates with Anthony Rizzo after hitting a solo home run off Cincinnati Reds starter Alex Wood during the third inning on Thursday in Cincinnati.

CINCINNATI – Anthony Rizzo had a pair of hits as part of a 30th birthday celebration, Nicholas Castellanos added to his Chicago surge with a pair of homers and the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds, 12-5, on Thursday night for their biggest NL Central lead of the season.

The Cubs’ sixth win in seven games gave them a 3½-game margin over the idle Brewers. The Reds wasted a big game by rookie Aristides Aquino – Yasiel Puig’s replacement – and fell to eight games out, one shy of their biggest deficit.

Reds manager David Bell returned from a six-game suspension for going after Pirates manager Clint Hurdle during a benches-clearing brawl last week at Great American Ball Park. Reliever Jared Hughes began a three-game suspension Thursday, imposed for purposely hitting Starling Marte with a pitch. Eight Reds and Pirates were suspended in all, including Hurdle.

Rizzo was greeted in the visiting clubhouse by a banner featuring pictures of him as a youth. A few Cubs fans sang “Happy Birthday” before his first at-bat, and he answered with an RBI double off left-hander Alex Wood.

Castellanos had a pair of solo homers among his three hits, the latter breaking a 5-5 tie off Kevin Gausman (3-8) in the fourth inning. He’s hit safely in all eight games since the Cubs got him from Detroit.

Ian Happ drove in four runs with a single and a two-run homer, his second straight games with four RBIs.

Left-hander Cole Hamels returned to the mound where he strained his left oblique June 28. In his second start off the injury list, Hamels let an early four-run lead slip away as Aquino had an RBI double and two-run homer.

Aquino’s homer was measured at 118.3 mph, tying the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez and Mets’ Pete Alonso for the hardest-hit homers this season. The International League All-Star was called up to play right field after Puig was traded to Cleveland and has gone 9 for 15 with three homers in his last five games.

Tyler Chatwood (5-1) fanned six in three innings as the Cubs pulled away.

The Cubs signed catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Thursday to help them get through the loss of All-Star Willson Contreras, sidelined by a strained hamstring. Lucroy had three hits and was called for catcher’s interference twice.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Catcher Taylor Davis was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to open a roster spot for Lucroy.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Yu Darvish (4-5) is 3-0 in six career starts against the Reds with a 2.92 ERA.

Reds: Trevor Bauer (9-8) makes his first start for the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati got him from Cleveland in the three-team deal that included Puig. Bauer lasted only 42/3 innings of a 5-4 loss at Atlanta on Saturday.

Loading more