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Cubs notebook: David Bote swings, sprints, searches — and celebrates

With the wind knocking down fly balls left, right and center, Bote’s fifth-inning smash “felt like it took a left turn ... and just got in the basket” for a home run that made the difference in the Cubs’ 1-0 victory over the Reds.

David Bote hit a home run off Red starter Vladimir Gutierrez, a rookie making his major-league debut — in the fifth inning that stood up in a 1-0 victory Friday at Wrigley Field.
David Bote hit a home run off Red starter Vladimir Gutierrez, a rookie making his major-league debut — in the fifth inning that stood up in a 1-0 victory Friday at Wrigley Field.
Charles Rex Arbogast, AP Photos

David Bote knew he hit it well. But on this day, that didn’t mean much.

Strong winds off the lake made it seem like a home run at Wrigley Field would be impossible. Every fly ball was at least a bit of an adventure. So Bote sprinted out of the batter’s box and didn’t realize the low-trajectory hit off Reds rookie Vladimir Gutierrez — in his big-league debut — had cut through the wind and dropped into the basket in the left-field corner for his fifth home run of the season. It made the difference in a 1-0 victory over the Reds.

“It was as windy as I’ve seen playing here,” said Bote, who went 1-for-3 and is hitting .196. “I know I got it good and then I’m like, ‘Oh, man, I gotta run’ — try to get three [so] we’ll have three chances to [score]. Then I heard the crowd going and I was trying to find and umpire to see what happened.”

It wasn’t until Bote got to second base that he saw the third-base umpire signaling a home run. “I saw the ball in play [after popping out of the basket], so I didn’t know what it hit and I kept going,” Bote said. “The third-base umpire was waving his hand and I was like, ‘Ok, I can pull up here.”

The same wind prevented other hits from reaching the stands. One by pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom in the eighth inning likely would have landed on Waveland Ave.

Bote’s hit “felt like it took a left turn with the wind blowing and just got in the basket,” manager David Ross said.

But it was that kind of day. ‘You think you’re going to have to play small-ball, hit-and-run, steal some bags, bunt guys over,” Ross said, “and you end up wining by a homer, 1-0. That’s this crazy game at Wrigley Field.”

Bullpen stays hot

Relievers Andrew Chafin, Tommy Nance and Craig Kimbrel combined for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to extend the bullpen’s streak of scoreless innings to 38. The Cubs’ bullpen hasn’t allowed a run in 12 consecutive games. Only two of 19 inherited runners have scored in that span. The bullpen’s ERA dropped to 2.83, second in the NL behind the Padres (2.52).

Kimbrel (0.82 ERA) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 12th save in 14 opportunities. Nance (0.00 ERA) has yet to allow a run in six appearances (5 2/3 innings).

Rizzo still out

First baseman Anthony Rizzo missed his third consecutive game with lower-back tightness. While Ross acknowledged the roster being “super thin” because of injuries to Rizzo, Jason Heyward and Nico Hoerner, he still is being cautious with Rizzo’s back.

“He continues to tell me he’ll be available and try to work and be ready to help if he can,” Ross said. “From my seat, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to push that.”