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MLB Baseball

6
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Cincinnati1 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 690
Chi Cubs4 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 780
7
  W: W. Davis (3-1)   L: W. Peralta (3-3)
5:05 PM PT6:05 PM MT7:05 PM CT8:05 PM ET20:05 ET0:05 GMT8:05 5:05 PM MST7:05 PM EST7:35 PM VEN4:05 UAE (+1)7:05 PM CT, August 16, 2017
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois  Attendance: 37,021

Reds hope to mount offense against Cubs' Lackey

CHICAGO -- Given the deficit by which they lost to begin their visit to Wrigley Field, the Cincinnati Reds could have allowed their four-game series with the defending World Series champions to slip away before it really got started.

A 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, however, may have changed that.

Now, the Reds look to string two victories together after dropping three consecutive games, including a 15-5 defeat to the Cubs on Monday. Game 3 of the four-game set is scheduled for Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

"To come off a game like (Monday's) when we got beat really bad and (Tuesday) we had enough confidence to play the game, I feel like this win was big for us," said Billy Hamilton, whose ninth-inning RBI single was crucial in the Reds' victory Tuesday.

The Reds' attempt to maintain their momentum will face a challenge Wednesday from Cubs right-hander John Lackey, who has won each of his past five starts and hasn't lost since June 28.

Lackey (10-9, 4.82 ERA) is 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA in two starts against the Reds this season, and he is 6-5 with a 3.90 ERA in 15 career starts against Cincinnati.

The Reds will counter will Homer Bailey (4-6, 8.31 ERA), who will face the Cubs for the first time this season. Bailey, who is 8-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 16 career starts against the Cubs, has dropped four of his past six starts.

As Cincinnati continues to fight through a disappointing season, the Cubs are hoping to use a stretch against sub-.500 teams like the Reds to improve their playoff standing. Thanks to a St. Louis Cardinals loss Tuesday, the Cubs maintained their 1 1/2-game edge in the National League Central. The Milwaukee Brewers also climbed within 1 1/2 games of Chicago thanks to their win Tuesday.

Although the Cubs have struggled all season to play with any type of consistency, they are hoping that a tight race and tight games like Tuesday's might set them up for another lengthy postseason run.

"I think we've played a lot better the second half," Chicago second baseman Ben Zobrist said. "We can still play better, and we anticipate doing that. We're in a decent spot -- we're not exactly where we want to be ... but we'd like to be playing even better than we are and kind of run away with the division."

With a favorable stretch upcoming, the Cubs are in a position to make the kind of run that set them apart in the NL Central last season.

However, after leaving 10 runners on base Tuesday while going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, they know that even games against also-rans won't be easy.

"I'm hoping it's a dogfight and that we stay on top -- finish on top, that's it," Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward said after the Tuesday loss. "We're playing good baseball, we're battling on a daily basis, we're grinding, we're making adjustments and having fun competing, and that's all we can do."

Updated August 16, 2017

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