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Cubs 7 HRs tie single game franchise record in 20-9 W

Pictures by Chris LaGrone

Jeimer Candelario was 4 for 5 in the Cubs 20-9 win (Chris LaGrone/The Bigs Media)


The Cubs didn't give the first place Cincinnati Reds a chance to gain any momentum as they took care of business with a 20-9 drubbing of the NL Central leaders. Winners in nine of their last 11 games, the Cubs pounded seven home runs and scored13 runs in the first four innings which was the most since the 2009 season under the guidance of "Sweet Lou" Pinella.

Justin Steele picked up his 12th win and tied Phillies starter Taijuan Walker for the MLB lead.

"We jumped all over that guy. I thought the way we ran the bases, took advantage early on, stole some bags, the homers. A good offensive environment tonight. Felt there was a lot of confidence in tonight," said manager David Ross.

That guy was Reds starter Ben Lively and he wore that L well as manager David Bell let him take his lumps. After using six relievers last night, Bell was looking to get some length out of his starter. Lively is the first pitcher to allow 13+ runs to the Cubs since 1939. His night ended after four innings allowing 13 runs on 13 hits.

The Cubs flipped the script on the Reds and were aggressive from the jump, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first. Nico Hoerner's 26th stolen base (in 29 attempts) led to an errant throw by Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson allowing Mike Tauchman (leadoff single) to score from 3rd for a 1-0 lead. Will be July NL Player of the Month Cody Bellinger's RBI single scored Hoerner and All-Star Dansby Swanson's 3 run oppo jack made it 5-0.

Swanson finished the evening with 2 home runs and 5 RBI making that his second multi-HR game of the season. Coming from an Atlanta Braves team that won four consecutive division titles from 2019-22 and a World Series in 2021, Swanson knows something only a few guys inside the Cubs clubhouse do. What meaningful baseball in August and September feels like!

Dansby Swanson rounding the bases after his 3 run HR in the bottom of the 1st gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead (Chris LaGrone/The Bigs Media)

"We've got a great team. We've got a lot of great camaraderie. I feel like you can just see the work that we've put in not only on the field but off the field. What we expect out of one another. It's been such a fun experience. Every year is different and I feel like this year we've really started to set a precedent for what we expect for things to be around here. A lot of guys have been buying into it and it's been really really fun to be a part of," Swanson said.

Jeimer Candelario had a favorable impact in his return to Wrigley Field going 4 for 5 and scoring a run. Candelario made his MLB debut with the Cubs on July 3, 2016 but was quickly optioned back to AAA Iowa on July 9. He wasn't added to the Cubs postseason roster but was still on the 40 man roster therefore earning himself a World Series ring. He spent the next five seasons with the Detroit Tigers and the first half of this season with the Washington Nationals where he put up good power numbers.

It's not easy to come right in to a situation and be thrown in the fire with lofty expectations but Swanson thinks Candelario is built for the challenge.

"It's obvious him being a switch hitter is huge. He's always been such a good player and this year he's had a tremendous year so far. You see the power and he's got such a simple swing. A guy that you expect big things out of so we're definitely glad to have him, Swanson said"

A couple of weeks ago there was real speculation that the Cubs could be selling for a third consecutive year. Hoyer admitted he was on both sides of the fence as far as his thought process of how he wanted to proceed but there was a specific moment when the decision became a no brainer. "It was a pretty easy decision to keep this group together." He said the six game win streak against the Cardinals and the game Mike Tauchman robbed pinch hitter Alec Burleson of a game winning HR was really the turning point in their decision making.

"You realize this group believes in each other and it's definitely the right thing to do to keep them together," Hoyer said as he addressed the media 45 minutes after the trade deadline passed. "When you look at where we are in the season, it's been an odd path for sure. But if you look at the way we've played since early June, we've played great baseball."

"This is Jed's group that he's put together," said Ian Happ. "He's the architect so give credit to him."

*Bellinger/Candelario/Swanson were a combined 9 for 15 with 3 HRs, 8 RBI and 7 runs scored

*Trey Mancini was DFA'd before Tuesday's game and the Cubs will eat the remaining $7 million of his 2024 contract if he goes unclaimed on waivers


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