CHICAGO (AP) — Cubs manager Joe Maddon paired his 1,000th win with a glass of red wine made by Big Smooth wines out of Lodi, California.
A nod to his past on a very sweet night.
Slumping sluggers Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber homered to help the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-5 on Tuesday, handing a landmark victory to their beloved manager.
Maddon became the eighth active manager with at least 1,000 wins. He started his coaching career in the minors with the Angels and served as the interim manager of the major league club on two occasions before taking over Tampa Bay. He is in his third season with the Cubs after guiding them to a World Series title last year.
“I’ve seen a lot of different methods,” Maddon said with the glass of wine waiting on the table in front of him. “I’ve been taught well, and I really want to say, it’s 1,000 wins, other guys have done it, but to the players that have been a part of this, I want to say thank you, because you don’t do this without really good players. You don’t.”
The 63-year-old Maddon, known for his eccentric tricks over the years like mariachi bands and impromptu petting zoos, also thanked his coaches before he was toasted by the team in a room off the main clubhouse at Wrigley Field.
“He’s a great manager, a great one to play for, and we know that we have his back and he’ll have ours,” Schwarber said.
Ian 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.
Joey Votto, Zack Cozart and Tucker Barnhart connected for Cincinnati on a warm and windy night. Bronson Arroyo (3-3) was hit hard in five innings, allowing five runs and eight hits.
“It was one of those days, man,” Arroyo said. “It’s a hard place to pitch when the wind’s blowing the way it is, and their guys just did a better job of keeping the ball in the park than we did.”
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 drought-busting crown last year, but no one seemed a bit worried around the team.
Willson Contreras had two hits and two RBIs, and John Lackey (4-3) pitched into the sixth inning in the opener of a 10-game homestand.
“Felt like we all put in pretty good at-bats today,” Schwarber said.
Schwarber was hitless in 17 at-bats before he belted a drive in the second inning that landed near the back of the bleachers in right. He singled down the third-base line in the sixth and scored on Happ’s bases-loaded walk for a 7-3 lead.
After Votto’s two-run shot got Cincinnati (19-19) within two in the seventh, Russell went deep in the bottom half and Rizzo added his seventh of the season in the eighth. Rizzo went 2 for 16 on Chicago’s road trip.
“We just couldn’t contain them at any point in that ballgame,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.