CINCINNATI (AP) - Jay Bruce homered again for a first-game win. Billy Hamilton finished off Cincinnati’s biggest comeback of the season for a doubleheader sweep.
Finally, the Reds sense they are making headway.
Bruce’s homer sent Cincinnati to a 4-2 win in the opener on Tuesday, and Hamilton’s ninth-inning single gave the Reds a 6-5 victory and a sweep of the last-place Chicago Cubs.
With three wins in two days over Chicago, the Reds moved within 3 1/2 games of first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central, their smallest deficit since April 9.
“It just unifies all of us,” manager Bryan Price said. “We just feel really good right now.”
So good that some of them wanted to keep going at the end of a very long day.
“Let’s play three!” Hamilton said. “I’m ready to go right now.”
The Reds fell behind 5-0 in the third inning of the nightcap. Their biggest comeback of the season had been two runs. They took advantage of a struggling team, sending Chicago to its fifth straight loss.
Bruce doubled home the tying run in the eighth. Hamilton then had a broken-bat RBI single in the ninth off Hector Rondon (1-3) for the Reds’ first doubleheader sweep since 2009 against Pittsburgh.
Hamilton has driven in six runs during the series, relishing the clutch situations.
“I love ‘em,” Hamilton said. “I want to be the guy in a situation like that.”
The Cubs have been swept in all three of their doubleheaders this season. They haven’t won a game since trading starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for a package of prospects.
In the opener, Bruce returned to right field and hit another two-run homer, connecting off Travis Wood (7-7) during a three-run first inning.
Johnny Cueto (9-6) extended his stretch of success against the Cubs. He is 5-0 in his last seven starts against Chicago with a 1.19 ERA.
Chris Coghlan homered in both games and helped the Cubs get in position for a split, but Chicago’s bullpen couldn’t hold on.