Slumping sluggers Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber homered, rookie Ian Happ connected again and the Chicago Cubs beat Cincinnati 9-5 Tuesday night, giving manager Joe Maddon his 1,000th career win.
Maddon’s victories have come with the Angels, Rays and reigning World Series champion Cubs.
Happ hit his second homer in his third major league game and Addison Russell also went deep as Chicago returned to .500 after a lackluster road trip. NL MVP Kris Bryant added two hits in his first appearance after missing three games with an illness.
The Cubs (19-19) had dropped seven of nine, including four of their last six at division leaders Colorado and St. Louis.
Schwarber’s continued trouble in the leadoff spot and the shaky performance so far by the rotation had created some angst for a fan base expecting more of the same after Chicago’s historic crown last year, but no one seemed a bit worried around the team.
“If people want to sell low on the Cubs, sell their stock, we’ll buy,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. “We still really believe in this team. We know how good we can and will be when we get it locked in.”