Game One Hundred Fifty – Cubs 6 Reds 8 – 11 innings
WP – Nick Masset (3-5) LP – James Russell (1-6) Save – None
The Cubs jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning behind a pair of two-out, two-run homers … one by Carlos Pena (1-for-4 with a home run, a walk and two RBI) and the other by Marlon Byrd (1-for-4 with a home run, a walk and two RBI). The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the third and had a chance to put the game away. Instead the Cubs failed to score, let Homer Bailey off the hook and lost the early momentum they created.
The Reds knocked Randy Wells out in the fifth and scored in four straight innings while the Cubs failed to do anything against Reds pitching. Cincinnati took a 6-4 lead into the ninth against the lifeless Cubs.
Tony Campana led off the ninth with a 12-pitch at bat that ended with a solid single to left center. With Campana running, Alfonso Soriano ripped a pinch-hit double into the left field corner. Campana scored easily and cut the Reds lead in half. Starlin Castro hit a deep fly to center and the productive out allowed Soriano to tag and advance to third with one out.
Darwin Barney (1-for-6 with a RBI) chopped a single over the drawn in infield and tied the game at six.
After the Cubs wasted another scoring chance in the tenth (first and second with one out), the game remained tied into the bottom of the eleventh … but not for long.
Joey Votto doubled to left center off James Russell to start the eleventh … then trotted home on Jay Bruce’s 31st longball of the season.
The Cubs had plenty of opportunities early and late to win Thursday night’s game. Q’s offense did not manage a hit after the third until Campana’s single in the ninth. The Cubs finished the game 1-for-7 with RISP and left eight on base.
One of the countless areas that must be addressed in the off-season by the new GM is the pitching staff. The Reds scored six of their eight runs on three longballs (two solo shots and Bruce’s two-run walk-off), a bases loaded walk and a wild pitch.
Randy Wells came crashing back to reality on Thursday night. Wells suffered his first bad outing since August 7, also against the Reds. Wells struggled from the first inning on and was knocked out of the game with one out in the fifth. Wells allowed five runs on seven hits (two home runs) with two walks and three strikeouts. Wells walked the last two batters he faced and the second free pass forced in the tying run. Wells threw 91 pitches, 49 for strikes.
Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a walk) notched his 193rd hit of the season in the second inning. Castro has reached base safely in 28 straight games. The longest such streak for the Cubs since 2007 (28, Ryan Theriot).
Bryan LaHair (1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored) had another good game at the plate but the same cannot be said about Tyler Colvin (0-for-3 with three swinging strikeouts). Colvin looked lost at the plate in his first start of the series.
Mike Quade used a majority of his roster in the extra inning loss. Going into the bottom of the eleventh, Quade did not have any position players left on his bench while John Grabow and Ramon Ortiz were the only two pitchers still available. After the Cubs tied the game in the top of the ninth, three players went out to left to start the bottom of the ninth before Quade decided to stick with Bryan LaHair.
After winning two of three in New York to start the trip, the Cubs will limp back to Chicago with a 3-4 record over the last seven games … Cincinnati won the series (3-1) and beat Q’s Cubs for the eleventh time this season (Cubs 7-11 versus the Reds in 2011, 2-7 at Great American Ball Park).
With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 65-85 on the year … 20 games under with 12 left to play. Starlin Castro popped out to Brandon Phillips on a 2-2 pitch to start the game. Darwin Barney flied out to left for the second out. Aramis Ramirez lined a 1-0 pitch into center to keep the inning going for Carlos Pena.
Carlos Pena worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a mammoth homer over the batter’s eye in center. Pena’s 28th of the season gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Pena hit the ball well over 480 feet but was credited with “only” a 461-foot blast.
Bryan LaHair followed and singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. Marlon Byrd launched Bailey’s first pitch just over the wall in center … and the Cubs led 4-0.
Tyler Colvin struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Randy Wells took the hill with a 4-0 lead and had to wiggle his way out of trouble in the opening inning.
Brandon Phillips flied out to right to start the inning. Drew Stubbs reached on an infield single to short and advanced to second on a bloop single to left by Joey Votto. Wells got Yonder Alonso to chase a 1-1 pitch in the dirt but the ball got away from Hill. Both Stubbs and Votto advanced ninety feet. Wells ended up striking out Alonso swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Chris Heisey struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Wells threw 19 pitches in the first inning, 10 for strikes.
Starlin Castro notched hit #193 and reached base for the 28th game in a row. After Castro’s two-out infield single to short, Barney lined out to left to end the inning.
Wells sat down the Reds in order in the second … 28 pitches for Wells after two, 16 for strikes.
The Cubs had a chance to blow the game wide open and chase Homer Bailey in the third. But the Cubs remained consistent and failed to deliver with runners on base … and in scoring position.
Aramis Ramirez led off the third with a single to left … his second hit of the night. Pena worked a walk with no outs. Bailey uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Bryan LaHair. Ramirez and Pena advanced to second and third. LaHair walked to load the bases for Marlon Byrd.
Byrd hit a shot back up the middle on a 1-0 pitch. Brandon Phillips made an excellent diving catch on a ball ticketed for center … and Phillips’ catch turned the entire game around.
Tyler Colvin (0-2 pitch) and Koyie Hill (2-2 pitch) struck out swinging to end the inning. At that point, all of the early momentum the Cubs had was gone.
The Reds started chipping away at the Cubs 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
Homer Bailey grounded out to third to start the third but Brandon Phillips launched his fourth homer of the series over the wall in center … 4-1 Cubs. Stubbs struck out and Votto flied out to right center (3-1 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Homer Bailey in the fourth. The Reds right-hander retired six in a row at that point after loading the bases with no outs in the third.
After Yonder Alonso grounded out to short to start the bottom of the fourth, Chris Heisey lined a 1-1 pitch off the facing of the second deck above the left field wall. Heisey’s second homer in as many games cut the Cubs’ lead to 4-2. Wells retired Frazier on a grounder to short (3-2 pitch) and Hanigan on a pop up to Pena in foul ground (3-2 pitch) to end the inning … but the writing was on the wall that it was only a matter of time before the Reds took the lead in the ballgame.
Aramis Ramirez walked to start the fifth but Bailey struck out Pena and LaHair before retiring Marlon Byrd with one pitch (flyout to center) to end the inning.
The Reds knocked out Wells in the fifth … and took the lead.
Paul Janish popped out to short but Homer Bailey ripped a 1-1 pitch into right for a single … the beginning of the end for Randy Wells. Wells lost his command and concentration after giving up the single to Bailey.
Brandon Phillips ripped a 3-1 pitch over Byrd’s head and off the centerfield wall. Bailey held at third on Phillips’ double. Wells jumped ahead of Stubbs 0-2. But just like Casey Coleman, Wells tried to be too perfect and ended up throwing three straight out of the zone to the free-swinging Drew Stubbs. Stubbs singled to left center just out of the reach of a leaping Starlin Castro. Bailey scored, 4-3 Cubs.
Wells lost all command at that point. Votto walked to load the bases and Alonso walked to force in Phillips with the tying run.
Mike Quade decided he’d seen enough of Randy Wells and went to his pen for Jeff Samardzija.
Chris Heisey hit a 1-2 pitch back up the middle that Samardzija tried to stop with his foot … ala Kerry Wood. Samardzija slowed the ball down and deflected it to Castro. Heisey beat the throw, Stubbs scored and the Reds took a 5-4 lead. Instead of a possible inning ending double play, the bad decision bad Samardzija cost the Cubs a run.
With the bases loaded and still only one out, Samardzija struck out Todd Frazier swinging and retired Hanigan on a grounder to second to end the inning.
The Reds sent nine to the pate in the fifth and scored three runs on four hits and two very costly walks.
Homer Bailey retired the Cubs in order in the sixth.
Andrew Cashner took over in the bottom of the sixth and issued a leadoff walk to Paul Janish. After Bailey hit for himself and struck out swinging, Cashner threw a nice hook to Phillips on a 2-2 pitch that the Reds’ second baseman swung over the top of for the second out.
Drew Stubbs blooped a 0-2 pitch into right center. Janish advanced to third and Quade went to his pen for John Gaub.
Gaub uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Joey Votto (the ball bounced at least five feet in front of the plate), Janish scored and Stubbs advanced to second. Votto ended up striking out to end the inning … but after six, the Reds led 6-4.
After Jose Arredondo hit Aramis Ramirez on a 1-1 pitch with two outs in the top of the seventh, Dusty Baker went to his pen for Bill Bray to face Carlos Pena. Pena fouled out to Votto to end the inning.
John Gaub walked Yonder Alonso to start the home half of the seventh. Quade went to his pen for Kerry Wood. Wood retired Heisey (foul out to Pena), Frazier (pop out to short) and Ramon Hernandez (fly out to right) to end the seventh.
Bill Bray sat down the Cubs in order in the eighth.
Carlos Marmol made his first appearance of the series in the bottom of the eighth. Marmol retired Janish on a grounder to third before giving up a pinch-hit single to Miguel Cairo. Cairo swiped second with Stubbs at the plate but Marmol struck out Stubbs swinging (3-2 pitch) for the second out. Joey Votto ripped a 1-2 pitch toward first. The ball went off Pena’s glove right to Barney … who flipped to Marmol to end the inning.
Tony Campana hit for Koyie Hill to start the ninth … and 12 pitches later, Campana reached with a solid single to left center. Quade went to his bench for Alfonso Soriano. Quade called for a hit and run on a 0-1 pitch to Soriano. With Campana nearly at second, Soriano ripped a double into the left field corner. Campana scored easily and cut the Reds lead to 6-5.
Starlin Castro hit a deep fly to center (2-1 pitch). Stubbs made the catch and Soriano tagged and advanced to third on the productive out. Dusty Baker brought his infield in with one out. Darwin Barney chopped a 1-1 pitch off the plate and just out of the reach of Brandon Phillips. Soriano scored and tied the game at six.
Aramis Ramirez hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Sean Marshall struck out Jay Bruce and Chris Heisey to start the bottom of the ninth. Todd Frazier reached on a single to center but Ramon Hernandez struck out swinging to end the inning.
Aroldis Chapman started the 10th by striking out Carlos Pena swinging (1-2 pitch). Chapman then lost all control and walked both Bryan LaHair and Marlon Byrd on eight pitches. D.J. LeMahieu ran for LaHair at second. Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto flied out to deep center to end the inning.
Marshall stayed in the game and walked Edgar Renteria on five pitches to start the 10th. Dave Sappelt hit for Chapman and bunted Renteria into scoring position … but Phillips grounded out to third and Stubbs flied out to Jeff Baker in right to end the inning.
Nick Masset retired pinch-hitter Blake DeWitt on a grounder to first to start the 11th. Starlin Castro walked on four pitches but was erased when Barney hit into a 1-6-3 inning ending double play. Masset made a good leaping stop on a high chopper to start the double play.
James Russell started the 11th … and two batters later the game was over. Joey Votto doubled to left center on a 3-2 pitch and trotted home on a long homer to right off the bat of Jay Bruce.
Back to 20 games under .500 …
The Cubs open their final homestand of the season on Friday with the first of three against the Astros. Matt Garza against Wandy Rodriguez in game one.