Game Nineteen – Cubs 4, Reds 2 – 10 innings
WP – Carlos Marmol (2-1, BS 2) LP – Manny Parra (0-1) Save – Kevin Gregg (1)
The Cubs and Reds played free baseball for the second night in a row … but the Cubs came out on top on Tuesday night. After Carlos Marmol could not save Carlos Villanueva’s gem in the ninth, Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a home run) broke the 2-2 tie with one out in the tenth with his first long ball of the season, and the first homer of his career outside of Wrigley Field. Dave Sappelt (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI, a walk and a stolen base) capped his best game of the season with a RBI single in the tenth.
Kevin Gregg took the hill in the tenth and struck out Joey Votto swinging with two on to end the game. Gregg earned his first save since 2011. The last time Gregg saved a game for the Cubs was August 15, 2009 in Pittsburgh.
The Cubs outplayed the Reds for the second time in as many games but were not able to execute when they needed to and put the game away. The Cubs outhit the Reds 9-6 but were just 1-for-8 with RISP and left five on base … and the day after striking out 16 times, the Cubs struck out 13 times on Tuesday night.
Carlos Villanueva came within two outs of the first complete game of his career. Villanueva was excellent once again and made only two mistakes in his 8 1/3 innings. Villanueva served up a solo home run to Chris Heisey in the third and issued a leadoff walk to Shin-Soo Choo in the ninth. Villanueva faced only three over the minimum over the first eight innings. Villanueva was lifted with the tying run on second with one out and the Cubs clinging to a 2-1 lead. Villanueva received a no decision after Carlos Marmol gave up a single to Joey Votto that tied the game at two. Villanueva posted his fourth straight quality start after being charged with two runs on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. Villanueva threw 99 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Carlos Marmol blew his second save of the season but picked up his team-leading second win after another bad ninth inning. Marmol allowed the tying run to score on one hit with two walks and a strikeout on 23 pitches, 13 for strikes.
Speed was the difference for the Cubs on Tuesday night and three of their four stolen bases led to two runs. Alfonso Soriano (3-for-4 with a run scored and two stolen bases) stole second and third on consecutive pitches in the second inning and scored on a sac fly off the bat of Scott Hairston. Tuesday was the first time since August 25, 2008 in Pittsburgh that Soriano stole two bases in the same inning. Julio Borbon (1-for-1 with a run scored and a stolen base) then reached on a swinging bunt and an error by Corky Miller following Barney’s home run. Borbon swiped third and scored on Sappelt’s RBI single.
Cody Ransom (2-for-4 with a home run and a double) became the first Cub to homer in his first at bat in a Cubs’ uniform since Starlin Castro on May 7, 2010 in Cincinnati. Ransom gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with his first round tripper of the season and played a very good third base, despite the throwing error he was charged with in the seventh.
Starlin Castro’s 14-game hitting streak came to an end on Tuesday. Castro went 0-for-4 with a walk.
The Cubs snapped their four-game losing streak on Tuesday night and improved to 6-13 on the season.
Tony Cingrani announced his presence with authority in the first inning of Tuesday’s game. Cingrani struck out the side in order on 12 pitches, nine for strikes.
Carlos Villanueva gave up a single to Shin-Soo Choo but Cody Ransom started a nice 5-4-3 double play and Votto grounded out to third to end the inning. Villanueva faced the minimum in the first on eight pitches.
Alfonso Soriano led off the second with a single to left. Welington Castillo struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Soriano took off for second on the first pitch to Hairston, and swiped his second bag of the year. Soriano then went to third on the very next pitch. Soriano stole second and third base on consecutive pitches. Scott Hairston did his job and lifted the next pitch from Cingrani into left. Soriano tagged and scored, 1-0 Cubs.
Cody Ransom followed and hit the first pitch over the wall in right center. Ransom gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with his first longball of the season. Barney flied out to center (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Carlos Villanueva set down the Reds in order in the second but Chris Heisey cut the Cubs lead in half in the third. Heisey launched Villanueva’s first pitch of the third inning into the stands in left. Villanueva retired the next three batters and went onto retire 11 straight before giving up a two-out infield single to Shin-Soo Choo in the sixth. Choo pulled a 0-1 pitch to the hole at second. Rizzo made an excellent diving stop but Choo beat Villanueva to the bag. Replays showed the play was very close. Villanueva hit the bag with his wrong foot. Cozart flied out to left to end the inning. Villanueva needed only 69 pitches, 48 for strikes, to complete six innings of work on Tuesday night.
The Cubs were not able to add to their 2-1 lead while Carlos Villanueva kept the Reds off the board from the third inning through the eighth inning. Villanueva threw only 92 pitches in eight innings of work, 60 for strikes.
After the Cubs failed to take advantage of another error by a Reds’ infielder that put Alfonso Soriano on second with one out, the game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs up 2-1.
Carlos Villanueva started the ninth and issued a leadoff walk to Choo, just the second free pass on the night by Villanueva … and it would end up costing him. Zack Cozart bunted Choo to second. Dale Sveum decided that was enough for Villanueva and went to his pen for Carlos Marmol.
Joey Votto pulled the second pitch he saw from Marmol under a diving Darwin Barney into right center. Choo scored easily and tied the game at two. Marmol then walked Brandon Phillips and the winning run advanced to second with one out. Marmol struck out Bruce swinging for the second out and jumped ahead of Todd Frazier, 0-2. Marmol ended up walking Frazier to load the bases. Chris Heisey grounded a 0-2 pitch toward third that Ransom fielded and took to the bag to end the inning.
Dusty Baker left Manny Parra in for the tenth. Cody Ransom flied out to right on a 3-2 pitch for the first out.
Darwin Barney stepped in and pulled a 2-1 pitch into the stands beyond the left field wall. Barney’s first longball of the season, the first of his career outside of Wrigley Field, put the Cubs up 3-2. Julio Borbon hit for Marmol and reached on a swinging bunt. Corky Miller and Parra had communication issues. Miller picked up the ball then threw it into Borbon’s back. Borbon was awarded second on the Reds’ second error of the night.
After Borbon stole third, Dave Sapplet rounded out his best game of the season with a bloop single to right center. Borbon scored, 4-2 Cubs. Starlin Castro walked. Dusty Baker went to his pen and brought in Alfredo Simon with runners on first and second with one down. Sveum called for a hit and run on a 2-2 pitch to Rizzo. The Cubs’ first baseman reached out and poked the pitch into left center. Sappelt could not get back to the bag and was doubled off to end the inning.
Kevin Gregg took the hill in the tenth with his first save since 2011 in his sights. Gregg was shaky, at best, but was able to get the job done. Gregg struck out pinch-hitter Derrick Robinson for the first out. Xavier Paul singled to right and there was a feeling of déjà vu. Shin-Soo Choo the singled down the left field line and the Reds had runners on first and second with one out … and Joey Votto stepping into the on deck circle. Zack Cozart flied out to right (1-2 pitch) for the second out.
Gregg struck out Votto swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the game … Cubs Win!
Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Mat Latos in the series finale on Wednesday … first pitch at 11:35am CDT.