Cincinnati Reds Top Cubs Behind Three Home Runs


9. 5. 61. . 4

W: Ryan Mattheus (1-1)

L: Justin Grimm (1-3)

SV: Aroldis Chapman (19)

Backed by three home runs and a shutout performance from the bullpen, the Cincinnati Reds squeaked out a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs in their series opener on Monday.

It was the Cubs who opened up the scoring against Michael Lorenzen and the Reds in the first, as Anthony Rizzo‘s sacrifice fly gave the away team the early one-run lead.

Todd Frazier made sure that lead didn’t last for long, crushing a line drive home run to center field to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning. It was Frazier’s 26th home run of the season and first since June 28.

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The Reds grabbed the lead in the fourth as Joey Votto scored on a wild pitch by Cubs’ starter Clayton Richard and extended the lead to 3-1 when Marlon Byrd hit his 16th homer of the season to right field.

Much like the Cubs’ early inning lead, the Reds couldn’t keep their advantage for long. Lorenzen was touched up for three runs in the top of the fifth and it was a pair of fellow rookies who did the damage. Kris Bryant brought the Cubs within one on an RBI ground-rule double and Jorge Soler put his team in front with a two-run double to right.

Lorenzen would make it through the fifth, but wasn’t sent back to the mound again with his pitch count at 106. He allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

After a 1-2-3 sixth inning by Ryan Mattheus, the Reds pulled ahead for good when Jay Bruce continued his hot hitting by blasting a 456-foot two-run home run to right field.

Burke Badenhop and J.J. Hoover bridged the gap to the ninth for Aroldis Chapman, who slammed the door on the Cubs with a perfect inning to earn his 19th save of the year.

Other Notes

  • Bruce also hit a double in the eight, his 20th of the season. All but one of those doubles have come since May 22.
  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the outstanding defensive play made by Brandon Phillips in the seventh inning to potentially save a run for Badenhop. With runners on first and second, he made a sliding stop on a ground ball up the middle and threw the ball behind his back to Eugenio Suarez, who made a barehanded catch and touched second base to end the inning.

Up Next: The Reds and Cubs will meet for game two on Tuesday as Raisel Iglesias squares off against Jason Hammel. First pitch is again set for 7:10 p.m. EST.

Next: All-Star week in Cincinnati: a truly incredible experience