Honestly, it happened. Read on…
So the Good Guys get the Cubbies for three games in Chicago and what should happen but…
A cold, rainy afternoon at Wrigley Field. Doesn’t that weather usually follow the Reds to Pittsburgh?
The first day off in 20 days did some good for the Redlegs. At least for the bats. They scored as more runs in this game (6) than they did in the entire three games series against St. Louis (5). And they took little time to jump on Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva.
In the game’s first half inning, Todd Frazier, who was in the cleanup spot with Brandon Phillips getting an extra day of rest, doubled to score Joey Votto who had singled with two outs. Add another run in their following at-bat when Shin-Soo Choo doubled home Xavier Paul.
After one and a half: Reds 2, Cubbies zilch. Stayed that way until the 6th.
In the Reds half, Jay Bruce brought home Votto with a double. Bruce advanced to third on a Paul ground out and then scored when Devin Mesoraco drove him in with a double. Cincy had a few doubles in this one. Now the Reds led 4-0.
The Cubs recovered those runs in the bottom of the inning off Reds starter Mike Leake. Anthony Rizzo doubled which was followed by an Alfonso Soriano double putting the Cubs on the board. Soriano would score on the next pitch as Nate Schierholtz singled. After a whiff of Welington Castillo, Luis Valbuena followed with a single and Leake’s day was done.
Leake’s line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 SO
Got one of those runs back in the top of the 7th, but it could have been more. With bases loaded and one out, Jay Bruce hit one at pitcher Michael Bowden. The ball landed to Bowden’s right, but instead of throwing home to possibly force out Choo at the plate, he threw to first to get Bruce. It did make for a second out.
An intentional walk to Paul loaded the bases once more, but Mesoraco popped out to Castillo to end the Reds 7th.
The Cubs 7th provided a little excitement and even more trepidation for Reds fans.
With one out, LeCure allowed a single to David DeJesus and followed that with a walk to Starlin Castro. Dusty would remove LeCure from the game in favor of Sean Marshall to face Rizzo. The kid got behind 0-2, but took a Marshall offering that was well off the plate and delivered a single to load the bases (DeJesus held up at second)…with one out.
Next up, Soriano who was 3-6 lifetime against Marshall, but Baker left Marshall in the game due to the lefty Schierholtz being on deck.
And the count went full to Soriano. High leverage situation? Sure was, and Marshall got Soriano looking silly by offering at a pitch that would have been ball four. Instead, two outs. And Schierholtz could not pull through on a 4-3 putout.
Whew. Meltdown averted, thank goodness.
Know what I love? Two out runs. That’s what the Reds did in the 8th. ANd as you will see, was it ever needed. With two outs, Choo doubled and scored on a Zack Cozart single. That would be the fourth 2-out RBI in this game. Reds 6, Cubs 2.
Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the 9th even though it was not a save situation. Game over, right? Not so fast. A great deal more trepidation to follow…
Pinch-hitter and former Red Dioner Navarro led off the inning with a single to right. Another former Red, Dave Sappelt, also singled to right. Castro followed suit to load the bases with no outs and Rizzo to the plate…representing the tying run. And did I mention Rizzo was 3-4 on the day as he headed to the plate?
Make that 3-5. Strikeout…and a BIG out. On a slider, no less.
Soriano flied out to Bruce, but Chappy walked pinch-hitter Scott Hairston to make the score 6-3, Reds. A broken-bat single from Castillo drove in two more Cubs and it was now a 6-5 Reds lead with the Cubs having the tying run on second base.
Another pinch-hitter in Cody Ransom. Went to a full count, too. Walked him to load the bases again…and Dusty went to the mound to retrieve him from this one.
It was now in the hands of J.J. Hoover – who was warming up during the Cubs 8th – and he would face Barney.
And wouldn’t you know. A whiff of Barney and Hoover earns his second career save.
– That day off set well with Choo. On base three times (2 hits and a walk). He also now has 13 multi-hit games, tied for most in the NL.
– A Red did get on base due to the HBP…and it wasn’t Choo. It was Votto.
– The only position player not to get a hit was Izturis. Leake didn’t get a hit either, lowering his BA to .286.
– Chapman threw a number of pitches in this game. Makes you wonder about his availability for tomorrow’s game. Since it was over 30 pitches (32), you have to think not. Plus, his location was probably the worst it’s been to this point of the season.
– A bit of a sparse crowd at the Friendly Confines. Of course, the weather did suck. 41 degrees at first pitch.