Cubs respond to Renteria's message with 'great' team effort

Cubs respond to Renteria's message with 'great' team effort

April 19, 2014, 6:45 pm
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Tony Andracki

For one day, all was right in Cubdom.

The Cubs responded positively to manager Rick Renteria's message and came out with a complete team victory, beating the Reds 8-4 at Wrigley Field Saturday.

Following Friday's 4-1 loss, Renteria felt the team was a little lackluster on the field and addressed his players in the clubhouse.

Whatever he said worked...at least for one day. But he didn't want to take any credit.

"I would hate to say that it was because of that that we garnered the result. I would just simply say that they all understand that there's some intensity and some focus that's involved with playing the game," Renteria said. "Sometimes, you get the results you want and sometimes you don't. But you just keep playing the game."

Renteria was happy with the result Saturday, in which his team collected five two-out RBI, hit three homers and showed a solid approach at the plate, in the field and on the mound.

"The intensity was obviously better," Renteria said. "Obviously, the results were better, but had the results not been what they were, I think the way they went about it was significantly different than [Friday].

"Guys hit the ball well - [Mike] Olt, [Welington] Castillo, [Darwin] Barney - when we needed them. They picked us up a little bit."

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Edwin Jackson - the main benefactor of the Cubs' offensive surge - picked up his first win since Sept. 10 of last season, allowing two runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.2 innings.

"Today was a great team effort," Jackson said. "Castillo and myself were able to get in a groove early and we had a lot of guys through the lineup put the bat on the ball. ... We had some big hits, we had some great defense.

"We have games where we just play together as a team in a complete baseball game and we have positive outcomes."

Jackson, who entered played with a 6.19 ERA on the season, admitted he felt more comfortable when the Cubs jumped out to an early lead, tallying solo runs in the first three innings of the game.

When the Reds pushed across two runs in the top of the sixth off Jackson, the Cubs responded by scoring three times with two outs. The Reds again mounted a comeback in the seventh, but Castillo delivered a two-run homer to put the game out of reach in the bottom of the inning.

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"Once you get the offense that we had today, it also helps," Jacksons said. "You can come at hitters. [The Reds are] jut a great hitting team. They don't give in. You have to continue to battle. They come back a little bit, we pull away again.

"It's just an example of what our team is capable of. It's just going out and proving it on a daily basis."

Normally an impatient team, the Cubs worked the count Saturday, forcing Reds starter Tony Cingrani to throw 104 pitches in five innings.

"We saw a lot of pitches and didn't chase out of the zone very much," Barney said. "I think it paid dividends today for us. We want to work the pitcher, we want to get to the bullpen. We did that and it worked today.

"It felt good today to get a win. ... Good day all around."

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The Cubs entered Saturday in the midst of a five-game losing streak and returned home this weekend after a 1-4 road trip in St. Louis and New York.

After more than a week without a victory, there was a definite mood change in the clubhouse, even from Anthony Rizzo, who left Saturday's game with back spasms.

"It started with Edwin. You tip your cap to him. He came in, threw strikes, was aggressive, battled out of jams," Rizzo said. "We got some runs early for him, so that always helps. It's a nice win for us. We definitely needed it, especially after the road trip."

Renteria lauded Jackson's intensity and "fight" on the mound and the 30-year-old veteran appreciated his manager's message following Friday's loss.

"He's not in there speaking for himself. He's in there to get us fired up, to get us motivated, to let us know that he has confidence in us and he understands the ability that we have once we take the field," Jackson said.

"Sometimes, it's needed to put that fire into guys and have everybody motivated to play in the next game and play the way we're capable of playing."