Start Alec: Mills sti­fles K.C.

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - BY RUS­SELL DORSEY, STAFF RE­PORTER rdorsey@sun­times.com | @Russ_Dorsey1

Starter Alec Mills knows Jose Quin­tana is work­ing his way back, and he’s do­ing his best to show why he should keep the Cubs’ fifth starter spot even when Quin­tana re­turns.

Mills got the best of his for­mer team Mon­day, toss­ing seven score­less in­nings in a 2-0 vic­tory against the Roy­als that moved the Cubs to a Na­tional League-lead­ing 8-2 record.

“It’s tough to hold grudges and stuff, but that was a team that got rid of me a cou­ple of years ago,” Mills said. “I un­der­stand the busi­ness, and my job is to make it hurt when­ever I face them again. It took four years for it to hap­pen, but I’m glad it did.”

Mills kept his sinker away from the bar­rel and worked his sec­ondary pitches down in the zone, forc­ing Kansas City to hit nine ground-ball outs. Mills went into cruise con­trol af­ter get­ting out of a sec­ond-in­ning jam and re­tired 14 of the last 15 bat­ters he faced.

“I just wasn’t as sharp [to start]; I think I had to calm my­self down a lit­tle bit,” Mills said.

“As much as I tried to tell my­self this game meant a lit­tle more to me than oth­ers, I think I had to set­tle down, set­tle in and know that I can throw a lot of strikes and get a lot of bad con­tact tonight.”

Mills scat­tered three hits to go along with four strike­outs and three walks. Cubs starters now have a 1.95 ERA in their first 10 starts. The ro­ta­tion has four con­sec­u­tive qual­ity starts and seven to­tal.

“You’re re­ally see­ing a guy that con­nects to your game plan,” man­ager David Ross said.

“You see a guy that changes speeds, and he’s not afraid to throw any pitch in any count. He’s got huge poise out there for such a young pitcher. We’ve known that about him for a while. You can see that ev­ery time he takes the ball. Noth­ing re­ally fazes him.”

Bryant goes deep in re­turn

Kris Bryant re­turned to the lineup af­ter miss­ing the last two games af­ter sel­f­re­port­ing coro­n­avirus symp­toms, and it didn’t take long for the lead­off man to make a big im­pact.

Bryant dou­bled in his first at-bat and worked a walk be­fore launch­ing his first home run of the sea­son in the sev­enth in­ning off Ian Kennedy to ex­tend the Cubs’ lead. He fin­ished 2-for-3.

Af­ter a slow start at the plate, Bryant knows he’s just find­ing his groove.

“It’s just a mat­ter of time,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘I just kind of fall back on what I’ve done in the game so far. Just look­ing at what I’ve done in al­most 3,000 at-bats in the big leagues. Just trust­ing in that and know­ing that I was hit­ting the ball great, just noth­ing to show for it. Just got to roll with that and keep go­ing.”

Quin­tana to throw sim game

In his third bullpen ses­sion, Quin­tana threw 30 pitches, and the team says he came out of it well.

He had surgery to re­pair a cut of the sen­sory nerve in his left thumb on July 2 and has been side­lined since the be­gin­ning of sum­mer camp.

Quin­tana will throw a two-in­ning sim­u­lated game Thurs­day at the Cubs’ al­ter­nate site in South Bend while the team is on the road.

GETTY IM­AGES

Alec Mills picked up his sec­ond vic­tory af­ter throw­ing seven score­less in­nings Mon­day night.

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