Trounced by the team that swept them out of the NL Championship Series last fall, the Chicago Cubs got back to the business of beating their other opponents.
Kris Bryant hit his NL-best 24th home run before leaving with a bruised leg, Willson Contreras and Addison Russell also went deep, and the Cubs pounded the struggling Cincinnati Reds 10-4 on Monday.
Playing the NL Central’s last-place team was just what the major league-leading Cubs needed after getting outscored 32-11 in a four-game sweep by the Mets in New York.
“The power of 24 hours,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “We had a tough stay in New York City.”
It looked a whole lot easier against a Reds team that could challenge the franchise record of 101 losses.
Cincinnati fired pitching coach Mark Riggins in an effort to shake up a staff with the majors’ worst ERA, then lost for the 11th time in 13 games.
Bryant hit a two-run drive in the second inning and scored three times before exiting with a bruised lower left leg in the fifth. He was hurt making a catch in left field in the top half when center fielder Albert Almora Jr. ran into him.
Contreras capped a three-run second with a solo drive off Cody Reed (0-3) that made it 6-0. Russell drove in three runs and scored two.
Kyle Hendricks (7-6) gave up an unearned run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings as the Cubs started a four-game homestand on a winning note after going 4-7 on their longest trip of the season.
Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez hit back-to-back home runs for Cincinnati in the seventh. But the Reds committed two errors, and Reed struggled again on the mound.
The left-hander gave up eight runs — four earned — and five hits in four innings after getting rocked at home by the Cubs last week. He also walked three and hit two batters with pitches as his ERA remained 9.00 after four career starts.
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