Game Twenty-Nine – Cubs 5, Reds 6
WP – Mike Leake (2-1) LP – Carlos Villanueva (1-2) Save – J.J. Hoover (1)
The Cubs battled back in the ninth inning on Friday afternoon and scored three runs off Aroldis Chapman that cut the Reds lead to 6-5. Scott Hairston worked a bases loaded walk and Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with two RBI and a HBP) delivered a two-run single. After Chapman walked Cody Ransom to reload the bases, Dusty Baker was forced to lift his closer. J.J. Hoover cleaned up Chapman’s mess by striking out Darwin Barney swinging to end the game.
The Cubs never quit but once again they came up short with a late rally and lost a close game.
The Cubs inability to hit with runners in scoring position this season has gone from bad to worse. The Cubs dropped another one-run game to the Reds simply because they cannot hit or plate a run with runners in scoring position. The Cubs were 5-for-15 with RISP on Friday but only three of those hits drove in runs and not a single run scored from third on a sac fly, much less putting the ball in play to the right side of the infield. The Cubs left 12 men on base in what turned out to be a one run loss.
Anthony Rizzo (3-for-5 with a double and a run scored) had another big game, while Alfonso Soriano (2-for-5 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) drove in his third run of the year in the sixth inning. But Soriano failed to deliver twice with the bases loaded and less than two outs (six left on base for the day). Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a RBI and a stolen base) drove in Soriano with a bloop single in the sixth. Luis Valbuena (3-for-4) reached base three times but did not score a single run. Darwin Barney (0-for-5) had a miserable game at the plate. Barney not only struck out swinging to end the game, but he grounded into two double plays and left eight runners on base.
Carlos Villanueva had a rough outing and for the first time this season he did not complete six innings of work. Villanueva had problems putting hitters away and recording the third out of an inning. Four of the Reds’ six runs came on two out hits. Villanueva settled down in the middle innings before the Reds knocked him out of the game with two outs in the sixth. Villanueva allowed four runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Villanueva threw 95 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Michael Bowden and Kameron Loe could not keep the Reds off the scoreboard in the seventh and eighth innings. Bowden really struggled with his command and gave up a run without a hit due to three walks and a HBP in the seventh. Kevin Gregg faced the minimum in the ninth.
With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 11-18 on the season …
Carlos Villanueva struck out Shin-Soo Choo and Zack Cozart to start the game. Joey Votto lined Villanueva’s first pitch into right for a single. Todd Frazier followed and launched a double to center off the head of David DeJesus. Votto scored and just like that the Reds took a 1-0 lead. Villanueva struck out Jay Bruce swinging to end the inning.
The Reds got right back to work in the second after Mike Leake retired three of the four batters he faced in the first inning. Xavier Paul led off the second with a double down the right field line. After Mesoraco grounded out to third, Villanueva walked Cesar Izturis. Mike Leake lined out to right. Villanueva then surrendered a single to left to Choo that plated Paul with the Reds second run. Villanueva retired Cozart on a grounder to third to end the inning. Villanueva needed 37 pitches, 23 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.
The game remained 2-0 Reds until the sixth inning as Villanueva settled in and the Cubs offense went 0-for-4 with RISP and left four on base through the first five innings.
Joey Votto led off the sixth with a single to center on a 3-2 pitch. Frazier flied out to left on a 3-2 pitch. Jay Bruce then pulled a 1-2 pitch from Villanueva into the right field corner. Votto scored the Reds’ third run on Bruce’s double. Paul advanced Bruce to third with a groundout to Barney. Devin Mesoraco made it 4-0 Reds with a double to left on a 1-2 pitch. Villanueva walked Izturis and Dale Sveum decided that was enough and went to his pen for Michael Bowden. Bowden retired Leake on a pop up to shallow right to end the inning.
Anthony Rizzo doubled to left with one out in the sixth. The Cubs finally got on the board when Alfonso Soriano followed with a double down the third baseline. Rizzo scored, 4-1 Reds. Nate Schierholtz blooped a single into left. Soriano got a perfect read on the ball and scored. Castillo struck out. But Luis Valbuena singled to left … and knocked Mike Leake out of the game.
Dusty Baker replaced Leake with Sam LeCure. With the Cubs down by two and runners on first and third with two outs, Darwin Barney popped LeCure’s first pitch to Izturis at second base to end the inning.
The Reds tacked onto their lead in the seventh. Michael Bowden walked Choo to start the inning. Cozart fouled out to Rizzo. With Votto at the plate, Choo broke for second then stopped. Welington Castillo did not see him stop and threw on to second. The ball one-hopped Castro, ended up in center and Choo ended up at second. Bowden hit Votto with a 2-2 pitch and put runners on first and second with one out. Bowden could not find the strike zone. Frazier walked to load the bases. Jay Bruce hit a bullet back up the middle that Bowden did not field cleanly. Bowden knocked the ball down and got the out at first but Choo scored on the play … 5-2 Reds. Bowden intentionally walked Paul to load the bases. Mesoraco popped out to Castillo in foul ground to end the inning.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the seventh after a DeJesus single and a walk by Starlin Castro. Baker went to his pen for lefty Sean Marshall to replace LeCure. Anthony Rizzo stepped in and pulled a 0-2 pitch into right that loaded the bases with one out. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out and Schierholtz grounded out to second (0-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Kameron Loe started the eighth and recorded two quick outs before Choo doubled to left and scored on a single by Zack Cozart. After Votto walked, Frazier grounded out to third to end the inning.
The game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs down 6-2.
Aroldis Chapman started the ninth and gave up a single to Dioner Navarro, who was pinch-hitting for Kevin Gregg. Dave Sappelt hit for DeJesus and singled to right. Starlin Castro loaded the bases with a single to right on a 2-2 pitch.
Anthony Rizzo stepped in with the bags juiced and no outs. Rizzo struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) and Alfonso Soriano popped out to right. Scott Hairston hit for Schierholtz and worked a walk that forced in Navarro with the Cubs’ third run.
Welington Castillo singled to center on a 0-1 pitch. Sappelt and Castro scored and cut the Reds lead to 6-5. Sveum emptied his bench and sent up Cody Ransom to hit for Valbuena. Ransom walked to reload the bases. Dusty Baker made the slow walk and replaced Chapman with J.J. Hoover.
Darwin Barney struck out swinging on a 1-2 pitch to end the game.
Jeff Samardzija faces lefty Tony Cingrani on Saturday afternoon.