Game Ninety-Four – Cubs 6, Reds 5
WP – Hector Rondon (4-2) LP – Aroldis Chapman (3-4) Save – Jason Motte (6)
Down 5-0 by the end of the second inning, the Cubs scored five runs in the top of the third with Kris Bryant delivering a pinch-hit two-run single to tie the game. The bullpen tossed seven innings of shutout ball in relief of Dallas Beeler. Anthony Rizzo stole third base with two outs in the ninth and Taylor Teagarden delivered a pinch-hit single off Aroldis Chapman as the Cubs beat the Reds in game two of the day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.
The Cubs showed a lot of character Wednesday night. After being blown out in game one, it would have been very easy for them to mail in game two once the Reds jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning. The players did not quit and Joe Maddon put his team in a position to succeed.
Once the Cubs tied the game at five in the third inning, it was up to the bullpens and the Cubs relievers stepped up with seven shutout innings.
Travis Wood turned in another tremendous effort out of the bullpen with help from two excellent defensive plays by Chris Denorfia and Dexter Fowler. Wood was the first reliever Maddon called on when he removed Dallas Beeler in the top of the third inning with the bases loaded for Kris Bryant. Wood allowed three hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings.
Pedro Strop took the game to the seventh with 1 2/3 innings of no-hit ball. Strop issued two walks, one of the unintentional-intentional variety and struck out four batters. Rafael Soriano gave up a hit with a strikeout in the seventh. And Hector Rondon wiggled his way out of a bases loaded one-out jam in the eighth inning.
Jason Motte picked up the save with two strikeouts in the ninth.
Jonathan Herrera (1-for-2 with a double and a run scored) and Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) started the comeback in the third inning. Herrera led off the inning with a double and scored on a Castro double to left center. After Tony Cingrani hit Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a double, a HBP, a stolen base and two runs scored), he walked Jorge Soler (0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored) to load the bases.
Chris Denorfia (1-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a run scored) doubled to left and plated both Castro and Rizzo. Bryan Price intentionally walked David Ross to load the bases for Dallas Beeler. And Maddon went to work.
Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with two RBI) hit for Beeler and singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. Soler and Denorfia scored and tied the game at five.
The Cubs scored six runs on 12 hits with four walks … and finished game two 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
Dallas Beeler did not get any help from Starlin Castro as it was his error that prolonged the second inning. Beeler had a rough game and made two poor decisions in his short two-inning outing. Beeler threw too many hittable strikes and unlike Kyle Hendricks in game one, the Reds squared up Beeler.
Joe Maddon lifted Beeler for Kris Bryant with the bases loaded in the third inning and the Cubs down by two runs. Beeler was charged with five runs, three earned, on six hits with two walks. Beeler threw 48 pitches, 27 for strikes, in two innings.
By winning game two, the Cubs split the four-game series in Cincinnati, finished the road trip with a 4-3 record and improved to 51-43 on the season.
Brayan Pena led off the second inning of a scoreless game with a bunt single to third. Dallas Beeler walked Marlon Byrd. Eugenio Suarez singled to center and loaded the bases with no outs. Ivan DeJesus Jr. singled to right, Pena scored and the Reds took a 1-0 lead. With the bases loaded, Tony Cingrani rolled a 0-2 pitch to short. Castro bobbled the ball twice, Byrd scored, the Reds took a 2-0 lead and the bases were still loaded with no outs.
Billy Hamilton pulled a 1-0 pitch to deep right center. Suarez and DeJesus Jr. scored, 4-0 Reds. Joe Maddon made his way to the mound. After a brief conference, Beeler intentionally walked Votto to load the bases again. Todd Frazier popped out to second base for the first out.
Jay Bruce tapped a 1-1 pitch to the first base side of the mound. Beeler fielded the ball and never looked home. Cingrani scored as Beeler underhanded the ball to Rizzo for the out, 5-0 Reds. The inning finally came to an end when Pena grounded out to second base.
After two innings, the Reds were whipping the Cubs again … 5-0.
Jonathan Herrera led off the third with a double to left center. Dexter Fowler struck out swinging. Starlin Castro pulled a 2-1 pitch into left center. Herrera scored, 5-1 Reds, on a double by Castro. Anthony Rizzo was hit for the 20th time this season. With two on and one down, Jorge Soler walked to load the bases.
Chris Denorfia pulled a 0-1 pitch into the left field corner. Castro and Rizzo scored, 5-3 Reds. Addison Russell was caught looking at a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Bryan Price had Cingrani intentionally walk David Ross to load the bases for Dallas Beeler.
Joe Maddon rolled the dice and went to his bench for Kris Bryant.
Kris Bryant looked at three out of the zone before taking a strike. Bryant missed the 3-1 offering … but not the 3-2 pitch. Bryant pulled a ball into left, Soler and Denorfia scored and tied the game at five. With runners on the corners and two down, Bryan Price decided that was enough for Cingrani and went to his pen for Pedro Villarreal.
Bryant stole second on the first pitch to Herrera. With runners on second and third, Herrera flied out to right center to end the inning.
Travis Wood replaced Beeler for the third inning. Marlon Byrd tried to stretch a single into a double and Chris Denorfia threw him out at second base. Wood struck out Suarez swinging. DeJesus Jr. collected his second hit of the game, a bloop single to right. Wood caught Villarreal looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
After three complete, the Cubs and Reds were tied at five.
The Cubs and Reds could not string together any hits in the middle innings … and the game went to the eighth tied at five.
Addison Russell led off the eighth with an infield single to the hole at short off Jumbo Diaz. Kyle Schwarber hit for David Ross and struck out swinging. Diaz celebrated like he just saved the game. Bryant bounced a 2-2 pitch to third. Russell was forced at second. Bryant took over at first and stole second on a 3-1 pitch to Chris Coghlan. Coghlan thought it was ball four, did not get the call and struck out swinging on the next pitch to end the inning.
Hector Rondon struck out DeJesus Jr. to start the eighth. Skip Schumaker reached on an infield single. Schumaker bounced one over the mound that neither Castro nor Russell could get to. Billy Hamilton lashed a 2-1 pitch into right center. Schumaker stopped a third on a double. After a meeting with Maddon on the mound, Rondon intentionally walked Votto and loaded the bases.
Todd Frazier grounded a 2-2 pitch back up the middle. The ball hit Rondon and ricocheted to Rizzo, and he threw home to force Schumaker for the second out. Jay Bruce popped out to left to end the inning.
The game went to the ninth tied at five.
Aroldis Chapman made his way in from the pen and Dexter Fowler greeted him with a single to left (1-0 pitch). Fowler stole second with Castro at the plate. Castro struck out swinging. Anthony Rizzo singled to left. Gary Jones waived Fowler around third. But Fowler paused before committing to the plate and he was out by a mile. Maddon asked the umps to check if Fowler was given a lane. The call was confirmed. On the throw, Rizzo went to second. Chapman intentionally walked Jorge Soler.
Taylor Teagarden batted for Rondon. Rizzo took off for third on the first pitch and stole the base without a throw as Teagarden swung at it and missed. With Rizzo at third, Teagarden lined Chapman’s next pitch back up the middle and into center. Rizzo scored, 6-5 Cubs. Addison Russell walked to load the bases. And Kyle Schwarber struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jason Motte took the mound in the ninth with the Cubs up 6-5. Motte retired Pena (grounder to second) and Byrd (swinging strikeout) but Suarez singled to center. Motte struck out DeJesus Jr. swinging to end the game.
The Cubs will spend Thursday’s off day in Chicago. The Cubs open a six-game homestand Friday afternoon (3:05pm CDT) with the first of three against the Phillies. Jon Lester is scheduled to face Jerome Williams in game one.