Game Twenty-Six: Cubs 9, Reds 4
WP – Edwin Jackson (2-2) LP – Nick Christiani (0-1) Save – None
Wednesday was a total team effort as the Cubs finished the month of April (9-16) with a victory over the Reds. The Cubs batted around and scored four runs in the ninth off of Sean Marshall that put the game away after the bullpen tossed 2 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in relief of Edwin Jackson.
The Cubs went back to working counts and grinding out at bats on Wednesday and the right approach led to a win. The Cubs scored nine runs on 13 hits with six walks. And six of the 13 hits went for extra bases.
The Cubs’ three and four hitters had big nights at the plate. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-1 with a home run, two RBI, two runs scored and four walks) and Starlin Castro (3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, a RBI and a run scored) were a combined 4-for-5 with two doubles, one home run, three runs scored, three RBI and five walks. Starlin Castro continued attacking the baseball and collected two more doubles (both balls just missed leaving the park) while Anthony Rizzo launched the only ball he put in play into the stands in left center in the first inning. Rizzo walked in his other four at bats as the Reds appeared to be pitching around him to face Castro.
Anthony Rizzo gave the Cubs an early lead when he hit a two-run shot off of lefty Tony Cingrani in the first inning. After Edwin Jackson coughed up the lead, Starlin Castro singled in Junior Lake (2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored) with the tying run in the third inning. Mike Olt (0-for-5 with a RBI) grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice that plated Lake with the go ahead run in the fifth and Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored) sacrificed Rizzo in with the Cubs sixth run.
The Cubs broke the game open in the ninth after Nate Schierholtz delivered a two-run single that plated both Rizzo and Castro. A Joey Votto error allowed Schierholtz to score the eighth run and Emilio Bonifacio (2-for-6 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) doubled in Welington Castillo (3-for-4 with a double and a run scored) with the Cubs ninth and final run.
Edwin Jackson picked up his second win of the season after he put together a typical Edwin Jackson outing. Jackson allowed the Reds to tie the game in the first inning after his teammates gave him and early lead. Brayan Pena hit a solo shot in the second inning that gave the Reds a brief one-run lead. After the offense tied the game and gave Jackson another two-run lead in the fifth, Jackson gave one of the runs right back and was lifted with two outs in the sixth inning.
Everything was up early in the game and the Reds took advantage of Jackson pitching from behind in the count. To his credit he settled down somewhat after the second inning and kept the game from getting out of hand. Edwin Jackson allowed four runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Jackson threw 88 pitches, 52 for strikes in 5 2/3 innings.
The Cubs bullpen was lights out on Wednesday night. The Reds managed just two hits over the last 3 1/3 innings and the young relievers did not issue a single free pass. Brian Schlitter recorded the last out in the sixth and one in the seventh. Wesley Wright closed out the seventh by striking out Joey Votto swinging on a 3-2 pitch with the tying run on base. Neil Ramirez struck out two (Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier) of the three batters he faced in the eighth. At that point it was a one run game and Ramirez was flat out impressive. After the Cubs scored four runs in the top of the inning, Hector Rondon lost a chance at his second save. Rondon still retired three of the four batters he faced with a strikeout.
The Cubs ended a difficult road trip (2-3) by winning two of the final three games and with Wednesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 9-17 on the season.
Emilio Bonifacio worked a full count to start the game against Tony Cingrani before he singled to right. Junior Lake flied out to deep center for the first out. Anthony Rizzo stepped in and drove a 2-1 pitch into the stands beyond the left center field wall. Rizzo’s fourth homer of the year gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Starlin Castro doubled off the base of the wall in left center. But Cingrani struck out Mike Olt and Nate Schierholtz to end the inning. The Cubs made Cingrani work (24 pitches, 15 strikes) and gave Edwin Jackson an early lead.
Edwin Jackson’s struggles in a Cubs’ uniform continued in the first inning Wednesday night. Edwin Jackson retired Billy Hamilton on a grounder to second (2-1 pitch) for the first out. Joey Votto drove a 1-0 pitch to deep left. Junior Lake raced back and tried to make a catch before he hit the scoreboard. Lake missed the ball, Votto ended up at second with one out. Phillips grounded out to short. Votto ended up at third with two down. Edwin Jackson issued a four-pitch walk to Jay Bruce. Todd Frazier stepped in with runners on the corners and two out. Jackson fell behind 2-1 and Frazier crushed the next pitch. Votto and Bruce scored on a double to left center … and Frazier ended up at third on the throw to the plate. Jackson retired Ryan Ludwick on a grounder to short to end the inning. Jackson threw only 16 pitches in the first inning, eight for strikes.
Tony Cingrani retired the Cubs in order in the second inning … 38 pitches, 25 for strikes, for Cingrani through two innings.
Brayan Pena led off the second and pulled a 2-0 pitch down the right field line and into the Cubs’ bullpen. Pena’s first longball of the season gave the Reds a 3-2 lead. Jackson retired Cozart (flyout to left center), Cingrani (swinging strikeout) and Hamilton (foul out to Lake) to end the inning. Jackson needed 29 pitches, 16 for strikes, to complete two innings on Wednesday night.
Tony Cingrani took the hill in the third with a one-run lead and retired Bonifacio on a grounder to second (3-1 pitch). Junior Lake ripped a 1-2 offering into center for a single. Anthony Rizzo walked and put two on with one down for Castro. Cingrani missed on his first two offerings, but Castro did not miss his third pitch. Starlin Castro smoked a single into center. Lake scored and tied the game at three. Mike Olt grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Cingrani threw 58 pitches, 35 for strikes, over the first three innings.
The game remained tied at three until the fifth inning.
Bryan Price replaced Tony Cingrani with Nick Christiani for the fifth inning. Cingrani threw 79 pitches, 46 for strikes, and an update on Cingrani was not provided during the game.
Junior Lake led off the fifth with a double to left. The ball one-hopped the wall. Rizzo walked on four pitches. Christiani then walked Castro on four pitches to load the bases with no outs. Mike Olt rolled a 0-2 pitch to the hole at short. Cozart fielded the ball and threw out Castro at second. The Reds could not turn a double play. Lake scored and gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead. With runners on the corners and one down, Nate Schierholtz lifted Christiani’s first pitch into left. Ludwick caught the ball and made a strong throw to the plate. Rizzo tagged and slid around Pena’s tag. The Cubs took a 5-3 lead on Schierholtz’s sac fly. Welington Castillo followed with a single to right. With two on and two down, Barney flied out to right to end the inning.
Edwin Jackson was given a lead once again. And Jackson gave one of the two runs right back in the bottom of the fifth. Billy Hamilton reached on an infield single with one out. Hamilton slapped a 1-1 pitch toward short. Castro charged the ball, but it hit off the heel of his glove. Rizzo made a diving stop on a ball Votto yanked to the right side. Rizzo beat Votto to the bag for the second out. Hamilton advanced to second on the play. Hamilton swiped third on a 1-1 pitch to Phillips. Jackson could not retire Phillips to end the inning. Brandon Phillips pulled a 3-2 pitch into left. Hamilton trotted in and cut the Cubs lead to 5-4. Jackson struck out Bruce swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs had a 5-4 lead after five complete.
Edwin Jackson picked up two quick outs in the sixth then Rick Renteria went to his bullpen. Brian Schlitter, Wesley Wright and Neil Ramirez kept the Reds off the board in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. And the game went to the ninth with the Cubs hanging on to a 5-4 lead.
Sean Marshall started the ninth for the Reds and needed to put a zero on the board. But Anthony Rizzo worked his fourth walk of the game to start the inning. Starlin Castro drove Marshall’s 0-1 pitch to deep center. The ball hit off the top of the wall just to the right of dead away center. Castro settled for a double after missing a two-run shot by less than two feet. Mike Olt stepped in with runners on second and third with no outs and tapped back to Marshall for the first out. With the infield in, Nate Schierholtz ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. Rizzo and Castro scored 7-4 Cubs. Welington Castillo singled to right. With two on and one out, Valbuena tapped back to Marshall. Both runners advanced ninety feet. Ryan Kalish hit a chopper up the first baseline that Votto tried to field deep behind the bag. Votto got a glove on the ball, but dropped it. Schierholtz scored, 8-4 Cubs. With runners on the corners and two down, Emilio Bonifacio doubled to right, Castillo scored and the Cubs took a 9-4 lead. Bryan Price decided that was enough for Sean Marshall and went to his pen for Logan Ondrusek. Ryan Sweeney worked a full count before grounding out to short to end the inning. It was a very close play at first base. Rick Renteria asked for the umpires to take a look and the call was upheld.
Hector Rondon took the hill for the ninth and retired three of the four batters he faced to close out the game.
No game for the Cubs on Thursday. The Cubs open a three-game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). Travis Wood is scheduled to take on Adam Wainwright in game one.