Game Thirty – Cubs 4, Reds 6
WP – Logan Ondrusek (2-0) LP – Carlos Marmol (2-2) Save – Aroldis Chapman (7)
The Cubs played a good game against one of the better teams in the league for seven innings. While it wasn’t a clean game, the Cubs took a 4-2 lead into the eighth thanks to two, two-run home runs by Alfonso Soriano and a solid, six inning outing from Jeff Samardzija.
Carlos Marmol took the hill in the eighth for his franchise record 453rd relief appearance and the game quickly got out of hand. Carlos Marmol was as bad as he’s ever been. Marmol walked the first two batters he faced then hit Brandon Phillips with a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. Hector Rondon replaced Marmol and the rookie was not able to clean up the mess.
The Reds batted around and scored four runs in the eighth on one hit, four walks, a hit batsman and two sacrifice flies. The Reds have won the last 11 day games at Wrigley Field.
Jeff Samardzija struggled with his command for a majority of his outing but still left with a lead on a day he did not have it. In all fairness to Samardzija, the homeplate umpire had a tight, inconsistent strike zone on Saturday. Shin-Soo Choo took Samardzija deep on his first pitch of the game and the second run he allowed scored after a walk and his own error put Choo in scoring position in the third. Samardzija settled down after the fourth and retired seven of the last eight batters he faced. Samardzija allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Samardzija threw 111 pitches, 65 for strikes. Samardzija has thrown over 100 pitches in his last three outings without pitching into the seventh inning (111, 101 and 104). The bottom line, Samardzija put his team in position to win the game.
A day after walking seven batters, Cubs pitching walked eight and hit a batter on Saturday.
Alfonso Soriano hit not one but two, two-run homers on Saturday afternoon. Soriano finished the game 2-for-3 with two home runs, four RBI and a walk while supplying all of the offense the Cubs should have needed on Saturday. Soriano entered play on Friday with only two RBI and one home run … Soriano hit two longballs on Saturday and has driven in five runs in two games.
Saturday marked the 31st time in his career that Soriano hit multiple home runs in the same game. Soriano became the 70th player in MLB history with at least 375 home runs.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a double, a HBP and two runs scored) was on board for both of Soriano’s homers and recorded the Cubs only other hit of the game.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 11-19 on the season.
Shin-Soo Choo drove Jeff Samardzija’s first pitch of the game into the basket in left … and before the game had a chance to get started, the Cubs were down 1-0. Cozart popped out to Barney for the first out. Joey Votto went with a 2-2 pitch and doubled to left. Samardzija settled down with Votto on second and one out. Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce struck out swinging to end the inning. Samardzija threw 18 pitches in the first, 12 for strikes.
Tony Cingrani made quick work of Sappelt and Ransom before hitting Anthony Rizzo on a 1-2 pitch.
Alfonso Soriano stepped in and launched a 3-1 pitch to the back of the bleachers in left. Soriano’s second homer of the season put the Cubs up 2-1. Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.
Samardzija worked around a one-out double by Xavier Paul in the second without allowing the Reds to tie the game. Samardzija’s pitch count kept climbing. It took Samardzija 44 pitches, 28 for strikes, to complete two innings.
The third inning was not as kind to Samardzija as his error allowed the Reds to tie the game. Choo walked to start the third. Samardzija then uncorked a wild pick-off attempt to first. The ball hit and skipped past Rizzo into foul territory. Choo advanced to second. Zack Cozart singled to center on a 2-2 pitch. Choo scored and tied the game at two. Votto flied out to left center, Phillips struck out swinging and Bruce flied out to left on Samardzija’s 62nd pitch (39 strikes) to end the third.
Dave Sappelt walked to start the third but was erased when Ransom grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Anthony Rizzo stepped in and drove a 1-1 pitch to deep center. The ball hit halfway up the wall and Rizzo ended up at second with his eighth double of the season.
Alfonso Soriano broke up the 2-2 tie with his second longball of the day. Soriano drove a 1-0 pitch into the bleachers in left … 4-2 Cubs. Castro flied out to deep right center to end the inning.
Samardzija faced the minimum in the fourth as he pitch count continued to climb. Samardzija threw 75 pitches, 45 for strikes, over the first four innings.
The Reds’ lefty settled down after Soriano’s second homer. Cingrani retired seven in a row through the fifth.
Samardzija continued to struggle with his command in the fifth. He retired three of the four batters he faced as his pitch count escalated to 96, 55 for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija retired the side in order in the sixth to end his outing.
The game remained 4-2 until the eighth inning.
Carlos Marmol made his way in from the pen with the Cubs up 4-2. Marmol walked Zack Cozart on four pitches then missed on his first two offerings to Votto. Marmol ended up walking Joey Votto. Marmol then hit Brandon Phillips with a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. Sveum decided that was enough and went to his pen for Hector Rondon.
Jay Bruce stepped in with the bags juiced and no outs. Bruce hit a 1-0 pitch into shallow left center that fell in and drove in Cozart with the Reds’ third run. Todd Frazier drove a 2-0 pitch into right. Julio Borbon hauled it in for the first out as Votto tagged and scored the tying run. With runners on second and third with one down, Rondon intentionally walked Paul to reload the bases. Jack Hannahan hit for Corky Miller. Rondon could not throw strikes and walked Hannahan to force in Phillips with the go ahead run. Devin Mesoraco hit for Logan Ondrusek and drove in the Reds’ sixth and final run with a sac fly to right. Choo grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs could not mount a rally against Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman and handed the Reds their first road series win of the season.
Edwin Jackson faces Mat Latos in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.