Game Thirty-Two – Cubs 3 Reds 5
WP – Mike Leake (3-0) LP – Ryan Dempster (2-3) Save – Francisco Cordero (10)
After being no-hit into the sixth inning by Mike Leake, the Cubs finally got on the scoreboard in the seventh and took a 3-2 lead. Marlon Byrd started the two-out rally against Leake with a double to right center … the first clean hit of the afternoon by the Cubs’ offense.
Following Byrd’s double, Aramis Ramirez reached on an infield to third. Scott Rolen let the ball roll and Byrd hustled to third. With Tyler Colvin at the plate, Leake uncorked a wild pitch. Byrd slid home just under Leake’s tag with the Cubs first run.
Tyler Colvin then lined a 2-0 offering from Leake over the wall in right. Cubs led 3-2.
Ryan Dempster had put together another good outing. Entering the bottom of the seventh he had retired eight in a row and 10 of 11, the Reds last hit came in the second inning. Ramon Hernandez led off with a double to left. Mike Leake tried to sacrifice him to third but Koyie Hill made an excellent play on the ball bunted in front of the plate and threw out Hernandez at third.
Ryan Dempster, who was running out of gas, then gave up a single to right to Orlando Cabrera. Brandon Phillips grounded out to Lee, Cabrera was forced at second for the second out of the inning.
Lou Piniella made the slow walk to the mound as Joey Votto waited to step to the plate. With Sean Marshall ready in the pen, Piniella decided to leave in Ryan Dempster to face Joey Votto with two on and two out.
Joey Votto launched Dempster’s first pitch, his 112th of the game, into the stands in right center. Votto’s three-run homer was the 60th of his career … 14 of those have come against the Cubs in just 39 games. The Cubs continue to pitch to Votto and refuse to make adjustments to the Reds’ first baseman.
After allowing five runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings, Ryan Dempster is now 0-7 in his career at Great American Ball Park.
Lou Piniella’s crew completed an embarrassing week with a 1-5 road trip. The loss slipped them to four games under .500 (14-18) and created more questions for an underachieving, mediocre baseball team … Ryan Dempster’s struggles at Great American Ball Park continued Sunday afternoon. Dempster pitched from behind in the count most of the day. He was not sharp early on and gave up two runs in the second inning … but it could have been worse.
Jay Bruce led off the second with a double to right. Jonny Gomes followed with a double to left. Bruce scored and the game turned ugly in the field.
Drew Stubbs squared to bunt on Dempster’s first pitch. Aramis Ramirez charged as Gomes broke for third. Stubbs pulled the bat back and Gomes advanced without a throw … Ramirez could not make it back to cover the bag.
Stubbs grounded out to Starlin Castro. Gomes scored … 2-0 Reds.
Ramon Hernandez singled to right on a 1-2 pitch. Mike Leake dropped down a bunt that Dempster and Lee could not communicate on. Dempster threw the ball into right and the Reds had runners on second and third with one out.
Orlando Cabrera popped out to Theriot on Dempster’s first pitch … then Dempster struck out Brandon Phillips and got out of the jam.
Starlin Castro broke up Mike Leake’s no-hit bid in the sixth. The rookie shortstop hit a grounder up the middle that Brandon Phillips made a play on. Phillips could not get anything on his jump throw and Castro beat it out.
That was the Cubs only hit against Mike Leake until the seventh. The Cubs’ pitiful approach against the rookie must change the next time they face him in July.
Will the Cubs’ front office make any changes after a 1-5 trip through Pittsburgh and Cincinnati?
Weather permitting … The Cubs kickoff an eight-game homestand Monday night with the first of three against the Florida Marlins … Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Nate Robertson.