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Elly De La Cruz slams a 3-run homer on the anniversary of his major league debut, Reds beat Cubs 8-4

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Elly De La Cruz hit a three-run homer on the anniversary of his major league debut and the Cincinnati Reds won a season-high fifth straight game, 8-4 over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.

TJ Friedl, Jonathan India and Will Benson also drove in runs as the Reds followed a three-game sweep in Colorado with a win over the NL Central rival Cubs in the first of a four-game series.

“Good vibes in the clubhouse,” De La Cruz said.

Hunter Greene (4-2) struck out eight while allowing four runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Three Reds relievers combined to keep the Cubs hitless the rest of the way, with closer Alexis Diaz issuing a walk before striking out three straight batters to end it.

Home runs accounted for all of Chicago’s runs, a two-run, upper-deck blast by Seiya Suzuki in the third inning and a 415-foot, two-run shot to center by Christopher Morel in the sixth.

“The home runs kept us in the game,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “Suzuki is one of the guys we need to step up.”

Cubs starter Javier Assad (4-2) allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Reliever Porter Hodge’s third straight walk forced in a run with two outs in the Reds’ seventh, and Will Benson followed with a two-run single to right to extend the Cincinnati lead.

The 22-year-old De La Cruz got the Reds on the board in the third inning with his team-leading 11th homer of the year, a shot to right field that came off the bat at 114.7 mph.

“I think it was the key to the game, really, getting down and then being able to answer back and get on the board,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It kind of changed the course of the game a little bit. We had a long way to go, and a lot of good things happened after that to be able to get the win, but that was the start.”

De La Cruz said he was aware it was the anniversary of his debut, but he wasn’t thinking about it much during the game and didn’t plan to celebrate.

“I’m going to sleep,” he said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: RHP Emilio Pagán (right triceps tightness) was activated from the 15-day disabled list. Right-handed starter Graham Ashcraft (4-3, 5.05 ERA) was sent to Triple-A Louisville to make room on the roster. The 26-year-old Ashcraft has failed to pitch through six innings in his last six starts.

UP NEXT

The Cubs send lefty Justin Steele (0-2, 4.10 ERA, 36 Ks) to the mound to face Reds lefty Nick Lodolo (5-2, 3.11, 49 Ks) as the series continues on Friday night.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

By MITCH STACY
AP Sports Writer

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