Russell's bases-loaded double leads Cubs over Reds 5-2
CINCINNATI (AP) Rookie Addison Russell finished his first week in the majors with his biggest hit yet.
The youngest player in the National League doubled with the bases loaded on Sunday, and the Chicago Cubs held on for a 5-2 victory and a sweep of their rain-shortened series against the Cincinnati Reds.
The 21-year-old second baseman was in a slump when he broke the game open with his three-run double in the fourth inning off Anthony DeSclafani (2-1). Russell was called up on Tuesday and was only 2 for 19 with 11 strikeouts heading into that at-bat.
''I'm just understanding this whole process,'' Russell said. ''It may be overnight, it may take a few games, it may take a few at-bats. I'm just trying to stay patient and stay with my approach and believe in my talent.''
His teammates have seen enough to know that he has talent aplenty.
''Those are things he's going to be able to do more often the more comfortable he gets here,'' starter Jake Arrieta said. ''He's had some at-bats where he looks a little, and the next time he comes up he has great swing at the ball.''
Miguel Montero had a solo homer and a run-scoring single off DeSclafani, who had a streak of 16 scoreless innings snapped.
Arrieta (3-1) pitched six innings after waiting out a 4-hour, 13-minute delay before the Reds called off Saturday's game because of persistent rain. The Cubs won the series opener on Friday night, 7-3 in 11 innings.
Arrieta gave up four hits, including Todd Frazier's solo homer, and struck out six. Hector Rondon gave up a hit in the ninth while earning his fourth save in five chances.
The Cubs are 10-7 under first-year manager Joe Maddon, their best start since 2008 when they went 11-6. Chicago won the division that year under manager Lou Piniella.
Montero hit his 100th career homer in the second inning, ending the longest scoreless streak of DeSclafani's career and giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs sent eight batters to the plate for four unearned runs in the fourth, set up by Frazier's fielding error at third base. Montero singled home a run, and the Reds intentionally walked Chris Coghlan with one out to load the bases and bring up the bottom of the order.
Arrieta struck out on three pitches, but Russell doubled off the base of the wall in right-center field for three runs. Russell was called up from the minors on Tuesday.
Arrieta retired the first 11 Reds - only two of them got the ball out of the infield - before Frazier homered. The Reds got another run in the fifth on Billy Hamilton's RBI forceout, but they left the bases loaded when Frazier fouled out and Brandon Phillips hit into a forceout.
The Reds have dropped three in a row overall. They went 0 for 20 with runners in scoring position during the two games against Chicago.
The Cubs went 4-2 on a trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, leaving them 6-3 on the road overall.
Shortstop Starlin Castro dived to get Brennan Boesch's short-hop grounder in the hole in the sixth inning. Getting up to his right knee, Castro threw him out at first base.
Cubs: Reliever Pedro Strop retired all three batters in the eighth. He'd been bothered the past few days by a sore toe.
Reds: Slumping right fielder Jay Bruce was out of the lineup even though he was healthy, getting a day to regroup. Bruce pinch hit in the ninth and struck out.
Cubs: Chicago returns to Wrigley Field for a six-game homestand against Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Jason Hammel (1-1) faces Vance Worley (2-1).
Reds: Milwaukee visits for a three-game series. Jimmy Nelson (1-1) faces Jason Marquis (1-1), making his fourth start for the Reds.
Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay