Cincinnati Reds: Yasiel Puig shares the spotlight with Phillip Ervin

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 28: Phillip Ervin #6 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 28: Phillip Ervin #6 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds defeated the Chicago Cubs 8-6 on Sunday and won the series. Phillip Ervin had two huge RBIs with a little assistance from Yasiel Puig.

Phillip Ervin will be hailed as the hero in the Cincinnati Reds‘ 8-6 victory in the series finale over the Chicago Cubs. But while Ervin’s efforts definitely deserve to be lauded, don’t forget the huge impact that Yasiel Puig had in Sunday’s game.

Ervin got his third consecutive start and his fourth start in five games. The left fielder did nothing but rake the entire series against the NL Central Division leaders. Ervin went 5-for-10 (.500) with a home runs, 3 RBIs, and 3 runs scored.

Ervin delivered twice during today’s game against the Cubbies with a 2-out RBI single in the sixth inning to give the Reds a 4-0 lead and then again in the eighth inning with a 2-out looping single to right field that scored Puig from second base. That second RBI gave the Reds a 5-3 lead late in the game and helped the Reds continue to play add-on.

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Most fans will look at Ervin’s heroics today and dub him the player of the game. While taking nothing away from Ervin, I think it’s important to note the key contributions that Puig gave the Reds today.

Prior to Ervin’s RBIs, Puig reached first on a 10-pitch walk in the sixth inning and then again on a single to left field in the eighth. Both times Puig reached base, he advanced to second with a steal. The stolen bases by Puig turned Ervin’s bloop singles into 2-out RBI base knocks.

After being chastised by Pedro Strop through the media following the heated exchange during yesterday’s contest, Yasiel Puig probably feels pretty good right about now. Puig said after yesterday’s game that he’d put the incident behind him and that the team was focused on winning the series.

Puig and Ervin were certainly the key players in today’s victory, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the 3-run blast that Eugenio Suárez sent over the batter’s eye in center field. The rocket off Geno’s bat sailed 457 feet. Anthony DeSclafani also had a fine outing, going 6 innings and striking out 7 batters while allowing no runs to cross the plate.

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The Cincinnati Reds will welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to Great American Ball Park tomorrow. The Redlegs and the Brew Crew begin a 4-game set in the Queen City. After taking 2-of-3 from the Cubs, it’s imperative that Cincinnati keeps their foot on the gas. Anything less than a series split against Milwaukee is not acceptable if this team truly wants to compete.