Game One Hundred One – Cubs 4 Reds 5
WP – David Weathers (2-3, BS 5) LP – Bobby Howry (5-6) Save – None
After a one hour and 27 minute rain delay, the Cubs scored an unearned run off of Bronson Arroyo in the 1st inning, thanks to an error by Ken Griffey, Jr. Bronson Arroyo settled in and threw a gem with help from a Reds’ defense that made several highlight real-type plays. The Cubs offense managed just 2 hits off of Arroyo after the opening frame until a 2-out double by Ryan Theriot cut the Reds lead to 4-2 and chased Arroyo from the game with 2 outs in the 8th. The Cubs offense came alive in the 9th against David Weathers. Jason Kendall tied the game with a single to left after singles by Aramis Ramirez, Cliff Floyd and Mark DeRosa. Mike Fontenot appeared to drive in the go ahead run with a single to center but Ryan Freel threw out Jacque Jones at the plate and Alfonso Soriano lined out to end the inning.
Bobby Howry gave up a lead off single to Norris Hopper in the bottom of the 9th. Pinch hitter, Juan Castro sacrificed him to 2nd and Edwin Encarnacion singled down the 3rd base line with the game winner. Rich Hill pitched 5 inconsistent innings. He struck out 8 and walked 3 but gave up 6 hits including a monster home run off the bat of Encarnacion that ended up in the third deck. Rocky Cherry surrendered 2 runs in the 6th but only one was earned due to the 5th error of the second half by Alfonso Soriano. The Reds have been a thorn in the Cubs side for the past several years, and Lou Piniella’s crew has yet to figure out how to beat this team. The Cubs appeared flat from the beginning of the game and once again were dominated by Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo has been disappointing for the Reds this season but he continues to give the Cubs offense nothing but his best. Arroyo’s outing on Friday night was his best of the season and the first time he did not allow at least one earned run. After the Theriot single in the 1st that rolled in between Griffey’s legs, he gave up just 2 hits….a double to Mark DeRosa in the 2nd and 2-out single in the 7th by Mark DeRosa. Ryan Freel made two of his signature diving plays in center but his first on the night robbed Jacque Jones of a least a single and kept DeRosa from scoring in the 2nd.
Arroyo was cruising along until a 1-out error by Jeff Keppinger allowed Matt Murton to reach 2nd base. Ryan Theriot followed with his 2nd hit of the night, a double down the 3rd base line that scored Murton. With the score 4-2, Pete Mackanin went to his pen for David Weathers. Derrek Lee stepped in but Weathers struck him out to end the inning.
Aramis Ramirez led off the 9th with a single to left and moved to 3rd on a single to right by Cliff Floyd (Ramirez showed a little discomfort as he went into 3rd). Floyd was lifted for Angel Pagan. Mark DeRosa came through with his 3rd hit of the night….a single to left that scored Ramirez….4-3 Reds. Jacque Jones grounded out to 2nd but was safe at 1st….the Cubs had runners on 1st and 3rd with just 1 down. Jason Kendall then singled to left to score Pagan with the tying run. Mike Fontenot then hit a bouncer up the middle that Ryan Freel charged and threw to the plate. David Ross held his ground and tagged out Jones, who did not slide. Soriano then lined out to 2nd to end the inning.
Of the first 6 outs Rich Hill recorded, 5 of them were strikeouts. He pitched his way out of trouble in the 1st inning but could not in the 3rd. Ryan Freel led off the inning with a single to center, advanced to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a hustle double by Brandon Phillips….Soriano did not appear to charge the ball. Hill struck out Adam Dunn to end the inning.
The rain came back in the 4th inning and Rich Hill gave up the go ahead run on a home run to left by Encarnacion and struggled to get out of the 5th. Hill did load the bases but retired Encarnacion on a ground out to short. The Reds left 8 on base in the first 5 innings. Hill threw 104 pitches in 5 innings after a 27-pitch 1st. But when Hill left the game, his team trailed just 2-1 and appeared to have plenty of time to score just 1 run.
Rocky Cherry started the 6th inning by giving up a lead off walk to the catcher, David Ross….the 8th place hitter in the lineup. Cherry struck out Arroyo but hit Ryan Freel. Jeff Keppinger then doubled to left center. Soriano did a good job with cutting off the ball but it came out of his glove and Freel scored on his error. The bullpen did a good job until the 9th inning.
The Reds continue to play their best ball against the Cubs. Lou Piniella’s crew was outplayed and it was hard to tell which team was fighting to stay out of the cellar and which team was fighting to win the division.
Sean Marshall will look to end the Cubs 2-game losing streak on Saturday night against Aaron Harang. The offense could end up having another long night against the Reds’ ace.