The Chicago Cubs’ mettle was put to the test Sunday after Tyler Chatwood left in the bottom of the third inning with right elbow discomfort.
But thanks to six home runs — two apiece by outfielders Jason Heyward, Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber — and three innings of sterling relief from Jose Quintana, the Cubs pulled away to a 10-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Those efforts proved timely as the Cubs (20-14) earned a split in the four-game series. Now they’ll use Monday’s day off to try to fortify their 28-man roster before the 3 p.m. trade deadline.
This marked the first time since at least 1901 that three starting outfielders from the same team hit two or more home runs apiece. And it was the first time the Cubs had three players hit at least two homers each since April 16, 1955, when Ernie Banks, Randy Jackson and Dee Fondy hit two each in a 12-11 loss in St. Louis.
Chatwood, making his second start since returning from the 10-day injured list after a back injury, immediately signaled for a trainer after bouncing a 1-0 pitch to Joey Votto with one out in the third.
With Chatwood likely to miss at least his next start, Quintana could be in line to take his spot next weekend against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs haven’t named a starter for Thursday’s series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Quintana, who was making his second appearance since returning from a cut nerve in his left thumb, relied heavily on a sharp curve to strike out six — including five left-handed hitters — in his three-inning, 61-pitch outing.
Quintana allowed a home run to Votto on a fastball to open the sixth but froze Mike Moustakas for a strikeout to complete the inning and his day.
After Chatwood left with a runner at first, Colin Rea got a called third strike on Votto and induced Nicholas Castellanos to pop to second.
The Cubs hit 14 home runs in this four-game series, and their power surge Sunday was impressive because Reds starter Luis Castillo had allowed only one homer — to the Cleveland Indians’ Jose Ramirez — in 32? innings entering Sunday.
Heyward collected his ninth career multihomer game with a line drive over the right-field fence in the fourth off Castillo and a towering shot off Robert Stephenson in the sixth.
Heyward is 8-for-19 with three home runs on this trip and is hitting .351 in 12 road games.
Happ hit a two-run homer off Castillo that barely cleared the center-field wall in the fifth and added a solo shot to lead off the seventh off Stephenson.
Schwarber put the Cubs up 1-0 with a homer off Castillo in the fourth and added a grand slam in the ninth off Jose De Leon. Schwarber is 6-for-20 with four home runs lifetime against Castillo.
One day after Craig Kimbrel blew a save opportunity in the ninth inning of a 6-5 loss, the Cubs bullpen experienced a tense moment in the seventh despite a five-run lead.
Ryan Tepera walked three to bring Castellanos to the plate with two out. Castellanos ripped a 2-2 pitch, but second baseman Nico Hoerner made a diving catch.
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