Reds Rest Regulars … and Still Sweep the Cubs – Cubs 3, Reds 5

Game One Hundred Fifty – Cubs 3, Reds 5
WP – Johnny Cueto (18-9) LP – Manny Corpas (0-2) Save – Alfredo Simon (1)

The Reds completed the three-game sweep over the Cubs behind Johnny Cueto and basically a B-team lineup. Chris Speier, subbing for Dusty Baker, rested his regulars and it did not matter as the Reds continued their domination over the Cubs. The Cubs won just four of the 16 games against the Reds this season (4-12) and dropped eight of 10 to the Reds at Wrigley Field. Dating back to last season (7-11) the Cubs are 11-23 in the last 34 games against the Reds.

The Cubs had plenty of chances early against Johnny Cueto (0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and seven left on base after five innings) but they could not push across any runs as Jason Berken kept throwing up zeros on the scoreboard.

Jason Berken (no runs on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings) put together a good outing against a Reds lineup full of backups, Todd Frazier and Ryan Hanigan. Berken tossed six innings of shutout ball and allowed only two hits while walking two and striking out five on 86 pitches, 54 for strikes.

Jason Berken made history in the second inning when he became just the 58th player to strikeout four batters in a single inning. Berken joined four other Cubs’ hurlers (Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, Bill Bonham and Jim Davis) that have accomplished the feat.

Manny Corpas replaced Berken in the seventh and the game quickly went south for the Cubs. The Reds jumped on Corpas (15 pitches for Corpas in the inning) and scored all five of their runs on six hits. Corpas surrendered five-straight one-out singles then a two-out, two run double to rookie Henry Rodriguez that ended up being the difference in the game.

Rafael Dolis pitched his way in an out of trouble in the eighth without allowing any runs and Jaye Chapman pitched a perfect ninth … but the offense, despite outhitting the Reds, could not mount a comeback.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI) drove in two of the Cubs’ three runs. Rizzo broke up the shutout with a RBI single in the seventh and stepped to the plate in the ninth representing the tying run. Rizzo drove in David DeJesus (2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored) with a fielder’s choice groundout.

Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a triple and a walk) recorded another multi-hit game but was picked off first base in the second and it likely cost his team a run. Welington Castillo (2-for-3 with a home run and a walk) hit his fifth homer of the season in the eighth and Dave Sappelt (1-for-2 with two walks) reached base in three of his five plate appearances.

The Cubs offense outhit the Reds (11-9) and walked six times but were a miserable 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners on base in a two-run loss.

Darwin Barney (2-for-5) has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games and did not commit an error for the 135th straight game.

While the Reds clinched a spot in the post-season with Thursday’s victory, with the loss the Cubs dropped to 58-92 on the season …

Jason Berken worked his way out of an early jam in the first inning. Xavier Paul tapped back to Berken to start the game. Welington Castillo and Anthony Rizzo allowed a foul ball of the bat of Miguel Cairo to land untouched and it cost Berken. Cairo lined Berken’s next pitch into right center. Henry Rodriguez stepped to the plate with Cairo at first. Berken could not find the strike zone and walked the rookie, who was making his first big league start on Thursday afternoon. Todd Frazier popped a 1-2 pitch into center for the second out and Chris Heisey popped out to right to end the inning. Jason Berken threw 19 pitches, 12 for strikes, in the first inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the first inning. Johnny Cueto retired the side on 12 pitches, eight for strikes.

Jason Berken struck out Denis Phipps (looking) and Ryan Hanigan (swinging) to begin the second inning … but the third strike to Hanigan was in the dirt and got away from Welington Castillo. Hanigan reached on the wild pitch. Didi Gregorius was caught looking at a 2-2 pitch for out number two and Johnny Cueto struck out swinging (0-2 pitch) to end the inning … 39 pitches for Berken after two, 29 for strikes.

Jason Berken recorded four strikeouts in the second inning, the first time for a Cubs pitcher since Ryan Dempster on October 4, 2009 against the Diamondbacks.

The Cubs wasted an excellent opportunity in the second inning. Bryan LaHair was called out on a questionable 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Starlin Castro ripped Cueto’s first pitch into center for a single … but with a 3-2 count on Luis Valbuena, Cueto picked Castro off from first for the second out. Valbuena ended up walking. Welington Castillo followed with a single to center (0-1 pitch) and the Cubs had runners on first and second with two down. Dave Sappelt walked (3-2 pitch) but with the bases loaded, Jason Berken hit a routine grounder to Frazier at third, who threw to Rodriguez covering the bag at second to end the inning. The Cubs made Cueto work but that was all. Cueto threw 39 pitches, 23 for strikes, over the first two innings.

Xavier Paul led off the third with a double to center. Miguel Cairo then hit a fly ball to right. Dave Sappelt caught the ball and made a strong, but late throw to third. Paul slid in safe but appeared to get his feet tangled on the pop-up slid and he fell off the bag. An alert Luis Valbuena tagged him out. Henry Rodriguez flied out to deep centerfield to end the inning. Berken threw 51 pitches, 36 for strikes, over the first three innings.

David DeJesus (lineout to left center) and Darwin Barney went down quickly to start the third. Anthony Rizzo drove Cueto’s first pitch off the ivy in left. Rizzo held at second with a double but was stranded when LaHair struck out to end the inning.

The Reds did nothing in the fourth.

Starlin Castro led of the Cubs’ fourth with his 12th triple of the season. With the infield in, Luis Valbuena hit a 1-2 pitch to Henry Rodriguez at second for the first out. Welington Castillo flied out to Paul in shallow left (0-2 pitch) for the second out. The Reds intentionally walked Dave Sappelt and retired Berken on a grounder to short (first pitch) to end the inning. Johnny Cueto needed 65 pitches, 39 for strikes, to complete four innings of work.

Jason Berken retired the Reds in order in the fifth.

The Cubs squandered another scoring opportunity in the fifth after DeJesus blooped a single into left center to start the inning. Sveum called for a hit and run with Barney at the plate. Barney hit a grounder to third. Frazier fielded and threw across the diamond as DeJesus advanced to second. Rizzo grounded out to first (3-2 pitch), DeJesus went to third but was stranded when LaHair popped out to short (2-1 pitch) to end the inning. Cueto threw 80 pitches, 47 for strikes, over the first five innings.

The Cubs were 0-for-7 with RISP and left seven on base after five innings.

Jason Berken walked Xavier Paul to start the sixth. Berken struck out Cairo (1-2 pitch) swinging and retired Rodriguez on a flyout to center. Todd Frazier grounded a 1-0 pitch to Luis Valbuena to end the inning. Berken kept the Reds off the scoreboard for the first six innings on 86 pitches, 54 for strikes.

Other than a two-out walk by Welington Castillo, the Cubs did nothing in the sixth. Cueto needed 92 pitches, 52 for strikes, to complete six innings.

Manny Corpas replaced Jason Berken to start the seventh. Chris Heisey grounded out to third on Corpas’ first pitch … and it all went downhill from there. Denis Phipps reached on an infield single up the middle. Ryan Hanigan followed with a single to right. Phipps advanced to third with one out. Didi Gregorius hit Corpas’ first pitch into right. Phipps scored and the Reds took a 1-0 lead.

With runners on first and second with one out, Chris Speier went to his bench and sent up Joey Votto to hit for Johnny Cueto. Votto drove a 0-1 pitch into left. Hanigan scored and Gregorius advanced to third. Mike Leake ran for Joey Votto. Xavier Paul singled to right (2-2 pitch) and plated Gregorius with the Reds third run … fifth straight one-out single for the Reds. Miguel Cairo hit Corpas’ first pitch up the third baseline (swinging bunt). Valbuena made a nice barehanded pickup and threw to Rizzo for the second out. Both runners advanced … and scored when Henry Rodriguez drove Corpas’ first pitch into left center. Leake and Paul scored on Rodriguez’s first big league double (and first RBI) … and just like that the Reds took a 5-0 lead. Todd Frazier grounded out to Castro to end the inning.

Jose Arredondo made his way to the mound in the seventh and retired pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas. David DeJesus worked a walk. Darwin Barney followed with a single to left center. DeJesus rounded second and slid in safe at third. With runners on first and third with one out, Speier went to his pen for Sean Marshall.

Anthony Rizzo stepped in against Marshall (Rizzo figures to face Marshall quite a bit in the years to come) and pulled a 1-2 pitch into right. DeJesus scored on Rizzo’s single and Barney ended up at third with one down. Alfonso Soriano hit for LaHair and rapped into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

After seven complete, the Cubs trailed 5-1.

Rafael Dolis issued a walk to Chris Heisey to start the eighth. Denis Phipps followed with a double to center (0-2 pitch). With runners on second and third with no outs, Sveum brought his infield in for Ryan Hanigan. Hanigan tapped back to Dolis for the first out. Dolis then struck out Gregorius for out number two. Jay Bruce hit for Marshall and Dolis intentionally walked him to load the bases for Xavier Paul … Paul flied out to Soriano in left to end the inning.

Logan Ondrusek took over in the eighth and walked Starlin Castro to start the inning … but Luis Valbuena rapped into a 6-4-3 double play. Welington Castillo launched a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in left. Castillo’s fifth longball of the season cut the Reds lead to 5-2. Dave Sappelt followed with a single to left and Brett Jackson was sent up to hit for Dolis. Chris Speier went to his pen for Alfredo Simon. Jackson struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

After eight complete, the Cubs trailed 5-2.

The Reds did nothing in the ninth against Jaye Chapman … and the Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth down by three.

David DeJesus drove a 3-2 pitch from Alfredo Simon into left. Darwin Barney followed with a bloop single to right. DeJesus advanced to third with no outs. Anthony Rizzo rolled a 1-2 pitch out to Rodriguez at second. Barney was forced at second as DeJesus scored the Cubs’ third run. Simon struck out Soriano swinging for the second out. With Rizzo at first and two down, Starlin Castro flied out to center (2-2 pitch) to end the game … and the season against the Reds.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs and Cardinals kick-off a three-game series on Friday afternoon. Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Chris Carpenter.

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