W: Hector Rondon (4-2)
L: Aroldis Chapman (3-4)
S: Jason Motte (6)
If I would have told you that the Chicago Cubs’ third catcher Taylor Teagarden, who is currently hitting .214, would get the go-ahead RBI off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth, you probably would not believe me. But that’s exactly what happened in the Cincinnati Reds’ 6-5 loss to the Cubs in game 2 of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Of course, the Reds had plenty of chances to score runs. Both teams missed opportunities in the first, but each scored five runs in back-to-back innings. The Reds capitalized in the second when Ivan DeJesus Jr. singled in a run with no outs and another run scored on a Starlin Castro error. Billy Hamilton then doubled and after a Joey Votto intentional walk, Jay Bruce grounded out to first to score another run to bring the total to five.
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In the third, Castro and Chris Denorfia both had RBI doubles. The Reds intentionally walked David Ross to get to the pitcher, but Joe Maddon did something that shouldn’t have surprised anyone (if you know Maddon’s reputation) and pulled his pitcher to pinch hit Kris Bryant. Bryant promptly answered his manager’s call with a two-run RBI single to tie the game.
Tony Cingrani, reinstated from the DL and called up as the 26th man for the doubleheader, didn’t make it out of the third, as you can imagine. He went 2.2 innings and gave up five runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out three. Pedro Villarreal relieved Cingrani and ended up giving the Reds 4.1 scoreless innings. Given Villarreal’s track record, his performance came as a pleasant surprise. He gave up only two hits and struck out two.
The Reds also had other opportunities to break the 5-5 tie. They stranded two in the fifth, one in the seventh, and left the bases loaded in the eighth. I blame the eighth inning partly on some bad luck. Todd Frazier was up to bat with the bases loaded after Maddon had intentionally walked Votto for the second time. Frazier hit a rocket up the middle and would’ve had an RBI single had Hector Rondon not deflected the ball off his leg right to Anthony Rizzo, who threw home for the force out. It was probably the unluckiest play I’ve seen in a long time.
- I’m slightly scratching my head at Bryan Price’s ninth-inning decision to have Chapman intentionally walk Jorge Soler (Chapman’s first intentional walk EVER) and force Maddon to pinch-hit his last remaining player on the bench in Taylor Teagarden. Yeah, it’s a crap shoot either way, but I found it odd because Soler is prone to striking out and Chapman is one of the best strikeout pitchers in the game.
- Votto reached base five times, twice via a single and thrice via walk. He’s now hitting .538 since the All-Star break (14-26) and became the first Red to reach base nine times in one day since Pete Rose did it on July 2, 1976.
- Jumbo Diaz pitched the eighth, giving up one hit while striking out two of the four batters. This is noteworthy because one of the batters he struck out was Tuesday’s hero for the Cubs, Kyle Schwarber. Diaz struck him out on a fastball and Schwarber just swung right through it.
Up Next: The Reds will be off Thursday as they travel to Colorado to start a three-game series with the Rockies. Anthony DeSclafani (5-7, 3.99 ERA) will face off against Eddie Butler (3-6, 4.80 ERA) on Friday at 8:40 ET.