Cubs Patience Pays Off with Comeback Win – Cubs 5, Reds 4

Game Forty-Nine – Cubs 5, Reds 4 – 10 innings

WP – Kevin Gregg (1-0) LP – J.J. Hoover (0-4) Save – None

wflag-pubThe Cubs ended their six-game losing streak with an impressive come from behind win in 10 innings over the Reds in Cincinnati on Sunday.

The Cubs scored three runs in the eighth, all with two outs, to tie it up after being held to one run on four hits over the first seven innings by Johnny Cueto. Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a double and a run scored) reached on a two-out single in the eighth off Logan Ondrusek. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-5 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) worked a full count before pulling a double into the right field corner. Castro scored and cut the Reds lead to 4-2.

Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, two runs scored and a walk) stepped in and launched his fifth homer of the season to the bleachers in left center, a two-run shot that tied the game at four.

The Reds could not put runs on the board in the eighth or ninth innings so the game went to the tenth tied at four.

Scott Hairston, who came in as part of a double switch when Kyuji Fujikawa re-injured his forearm, worked a two-out walk against J.J. Hoover. Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a walk) pulled a 1-0 pitch into the left field corner. Hairston scored all the way from first with the eventual game winner.

The Cubs scored all five of their runs on Sunday afternoon with two outs.

The Cubs offense managed only a Starlin Castro double through the first six innings and scored all five runs in three of their last four at bats. The Cubs scored five runs on 10 hits and a day after striking out 11 times, the Cubs not only worked five walks but they made better contact, albeit weak at times, and struck out only four times on Sunday.

Sunday’s game was really two in one. While the Cubs could not put much together against Johnny Cueto, the Reds put a four-spot on the board against Matt Garza in the fourth inning. Garza threw the ball well over the first four innings despite running up his pitch count. The Reds got to Garza in the fourth after Jay Bruce lined a one-out solo homer into the stands in right field. The Reds scored three more in the fourth with Zack Cozart supplying the big blow, a two-out, two-run double after Garza had intentionally walked Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases.

Matt Garza turned the game over to the pen in the fifth inning after allowing four runs on four hits with four walks, a HBP and seven strikeouts on 92 pitches, 52 for strikes.

The Cubs’ bullpen really stepped up on Sunday. Rafael Dolis, Carlos Marmol and James Russell each tossed a scoreless frame while allowing two Reds to reach over three innings. Kyuji Fujikawa pitched a scoreless eighth and went back out for the ninth. Fujikawa recorded to outs before walking Joey Votto. At that point Fujikawa waived for the trainer and left the game without throwing another pitch. Fujikawa is expected to be placed on the DL on Monday with a right forearm strain.

Kevin Gregg got out of the jam in the ninth and worked around a catcher’s interference call in the tenth to pick up his first win of the season.

David DeJesus appeared to get under Johnny Cueto’s skin in the first inning when he kept stepping out and would not allow Cueto to get into rhythm. Cueto kept his cool about the situation until the sixth inning when he threw one over DeJesus’ head with a 4-0 lead. DeJesus ended up flying out but both benches were warned and Matt Garza took exception to Cueto’s actions after the game.

The Cubs won for the first time on the road trip (1-5) and improved to 19-30 on the season with Sunday’s victory (2-6 on Sundays in 2013).

The Cubs and Reds were scoreless through the first three innings. Johnny Cueto faced the minimum the first time through the lineup without allowing a hit on 45 pitches, 24 for strikes. Starlin Castro broke up Cueto’s no hit bid with a one out double in the fourth. The Cubs could not cash in Castro’s double and the game went to the bottom of the fourth still 0-0.

Matt Garza threw 62 pitches, 37 for strikes, over the first three innings and retired Phillips on a foul out to Welington Castillo on the first pitch of the fourth inning. Jay Bruce lined a 0-1 pitch over the wall in right and just like that the Reds took a 1-0 lead. Garza then hit Todd Frazier on a 2-0 pitch and walked Xavier Paul (3-1 pitch). Ryan Hanigan launched a 1-0 pitch to deep center. DeJesus ran back and got a glove on the ball but could not haul it in as he fell to the ground. Frazier scored on what ended up a very long single. Welington Castillo lost the handle on a 2-0 pitch to Cueto. He could not find the ball and both runners advanced ninety feet. Garza ended up striking out Cueto swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out.

Garza issued an intentional walk to Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases with two down. Zack Cozart pulled a 0-1 pitch into left that plated both Paul and Hanigan to give the Reds a 4-0 lead. Joey Votto grounded out to Rizzo to end the inning.

Johnny Cueto took a 4-0 lead into the seventh after allowing just one hit and dominating the Cubs in the process. Alfonso Soriano singled to left with one out and advanced to second on a single by Nate Schierholtz. Welington Castillo grounded out to short. Schierholtz was forced at second and Luis Valbuena stepped to the dish with runners on first and third with two down. Valbuena singled to center and broke up the shutout. Cueto struck out Barney swinging to end the inning … and his afternoon.

James Russell retired the Reds in order in the seventh and Ryan Sweeney pinch-hit for him to start the eighth. Sweeney tapped back to the mound for the first out. DeJesus then popped out to short and it appeared the Cubs would be limping out of Cincinnati losing all three games. But Starlin Castro reached with a two-out single and kept the inning going for Rizzo.

Anthony Rizzo put together an excellent at bat. Rizzo worked a full count which allowed Castro to take off with the pitch. Rizzo pulled Ondrusek’s next pitch into the right field corner. Castro scored on Rizzo’s third double in two games.

Alfonso Soriano pulled a 2-1 pitch into the stands in left center … and tied the game at four. Dusty Baker went to his pen for Manny Parra. Schierholtz reached on a single to left and Welington Castillo walked, his third walk in as many games. Luis Valbuena lined out to center to end the inning.

Kyuji Fujikawa kept the Reds off the board in the eighth and the Cubs could not cash in a leadoff double by Darwin Barney in the ninth. Fujikawa stayed in for the ninth and struck out Donald Lutz before hitting Choo with a 3-2 pitch. Cozart popped out to second but Votto walked to put two on with two down. Fujikawa appeared to re-injure his forearm, called for the trainer and was lifted from the game. Sveum brought in Kevin Gregg with two on, two down and the game tied at four. Brandon Phillips flied out to center to end the inning … and the game went to extra innings.

J.J. Hoover stayed in and retired both Rizzo and Soriano rather quickly to start the 10th inning. Scott Hairston worked a walk and scored all the way from first on a double to the left field corner by Welington Castillo. Hoover intentionally walked Valbuena before striking out Barney swinging to end the inning.

Kevin Gregg retired Bruce on a fly out to left for the first out in the tenth. Gregg walked Frazier with one out. Jack Hannahan hit for Hoover and reached on catcher’s interference. Castillo’s mistake put the tying run in scoring position with one out. Gregg retired Hanigan on a flyout to left and induced a grounder to second off the bat of Donald Lutz to end the game.

The Cubs kick off the first of four against the White Sox on Monday at the Cell … Jeff Samardzija against Jose Quintana in game one on Memorial Day.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon