Game Sixty-One – Cubs 2, Reds 1 – 11 innings
WP – Brian Schlitter (1-2) LP – Burke Badenhop (0-2) Save – None
For the second time in as many games, Starlin Castro delivered the game winning hit for the Cubs. Chris Coghlan doubled with one out in the 11th inning and scored when Castro smoked a 1-1 pitch from Burke Badenhop into the gap in left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and the Cubs celebrated a walk-off, extra innings win over the Reds.
The Cubs improved to a season-high seven games over .500 with their Major League leading eighth walk-off win. Starlin Castro has driven in the winning run in three of the eight walk-off victories.
The Cubs won their first four-game series over the Reds at Wrigley Field since April 14-17, 2003.
On a night the offense could not string any hits together against Anthony DeSclafani and the Reds bullpen, the Cubs executed in the field and the little things paid off in extra innings. The defense played a clean game and the relays all night kept the Reds from taking extra bases, and in the sixth from scoring a run.
Starlin Castro (3-for-5 with a RBI) not only delivered the game winner, but it was his relay to the plate in the sixth inning that ended up being the game changing play.
After the Reds took a 1-0 lead on a bloop single by Brandon Phillips that scored Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto doubled to left center. Chris Coghlan made a perfect throw to Castro, who threw a strike to the plate. Phillips was initially called safe. Joe Maddon had the play reviewed, the call was overturned and the Reds only scored one run in the sixth.
The Cubs tied the game in the seventh inning after David Ross (1-for-3 with a double and a run scored) led off with a double to left. Jonathan Herrera hit for Jon Lester and bunted him to third. After Addison Russell (1-for-3 with a walk) walked, Bryan Price went to his pen and replaced Anthony DeSclafani with Ryan Mattheus.
Dexter Fowler (0-for-4 with a SF RBI) put the ball in play. Fowler lifted a 3-2 pitch out to right. Jay Bruce caught the ball, Ross tagged and scored from third.
The Cubs managed only six hits over the first 10 innings and finished with eight on the night. Kris Bryant (1-for-5 with a double) extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first inning double. And Chris Coghlan (2-for-4 with a double, a walk and a run scored) doubled in the 11th and scored the game winning run.
Jon Lester had a good outing and bounced back nicely from his two horrible starts in Miami and Detroit. Lester made one mistake in seven innings. Lester threw a hittable pitch to Billy Hamilton and the speedster smacked it past a diving Kris Bryant and into left field. Hamilton ended up with a double, promptly stole third and scored when Brandon Phillips blooped a single into center.
The Reds made very little hard contact against Lester. His outing will be overlooked by all of those that focused on what Lester wasn’t doing and his shortcomings instead of the very good command he had Sunday night.
The only run off Lester scored in the sixth inning. Billy Hamilton led off with a double to left. Hamilton stole third on the first pitch to Brandon Phillips. Phillips blooped a 1-2 pitch into center. Hamilton scored and the Reds took a 1-0 lead. Joey Votto doubled to left center. Phillips tried to score from first on the play. Phillips rounded third and was called safe at the plate. Joe Maddon asked for a review, the call was overturned. Lester retired Todd Frazier (flyout to center) and Jay Bruce (flyout to right center) to end the sixth inning.
Jon Lester left for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh. Lester was charged with one run on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Lester made 96 pitches, 65 for strikes, in seven innings.
The Cubs bullpen did a good job in relief of Lester. The Reds had numerous chances to drive in the game winner. But the Cubs relievers made the big pitch when they needed to, especially Jason Motte.
Hector Rondon pitched a scoreless eighth, and Motte started the ninth. Jason Motte gave up a single to Joey Votto and a double to Todd Frazier to start the inning. After intentionally walking Jay Bruce to load the bases with no outs, Motte retired Brayan Pena on a pop out to center, struck out Eugenio Suarez looking and Kris Negron flied out to center for the third out.
Edwin Jackson and Zac Rosscup combined on a scoreless 10th inning despite Jackson walking Billy Hamilton. Rosscup retired Votto on a flyout to left for the third out. After Rosscup issued a pair of one out walks in the 11th inning, Maddon called on Brian Schlitter and he induced two groundballs to end the inning.
With Sunday night’s win (5-6 on Sunday in 2015), the Cubs improved to 34-27 on the season.
The Cubs week with Cleveland begins Monday night at Wrigley. The Cubs and Indians square off for the next four days, two at Wrigley (Monday and Tuesday) and two at Progressive Field (Wednesday and Thursday). Jake Arrieta faces Trevor Bauer in game one Monday (7:05pm CDT).