Game One Hundred Fifty-Nine – Cubs 5, Reds 3
WP – Jason Hammel (10-7) LP – John Lamb (1-5) Save – Hector Rondon (29)
Austin Jackson launched a three-run homer in the third. Anthony Rizzo doubled in a run and Chris Denorfia added a run scoring infield single in the fifth. Jason Hammel pitched five scoreless innings in his last start of the regular season. And the Cubs hung on and completed the three-game sweep over the Reds on Thursday afternoon.
Austin Jackson (1-for-3 with a home run, a walk, three RBI and two runs scored) had another good game at the plate, and made a game changing catch in the third inning. Austin Jackson followed walks by Addison Russell (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) and Dexter Fowler (1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored) with his first home run in a Cubs’ jersey. Jackson scored the fifth run on an infield single by Chris Denorfia (1-for-4 with a RBI).
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) plated Dexter Fowler with a ground rule double to left in the fifth.
Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a double) and Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4) had hits. The Cubs scored five runs on eight hits and three big walks. All three of the Cubs’ free passes scored Thursday.
The Cubs offense did just enough in the first five innings, built a lead and Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon held off the Reds in the eighth and ninth innings.
Jason Hammel was effective during his five innings. Hammel pitched out of jams in three of the first four innings. Hammel gave up five hits, three went for doubles. The Reds made solid contact against Hammel but could not push across any runs. Hammel executed pitches when he needed to Thursday afternoon.
Justin Grimm struggled was his command in the sixth. Grimm served up a double to Brandon Phillips. Grimm was bailed out of a jam when Phillips ran into a double play. Phillips thought it was a good idea to mess with Javier Baez after he caught a pop fly off the bat of Jay Bruce in shallow left. Phillips walked down the third baseline, slipped and was eventually tagged out. Brandon being Brandon cost the Reds again.
The Reds got back into the game in the seventh inning against Fernando Rodney, Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill. Two singles and an Addison Russell error loaded the bases against Rodney. The Reds’ first run scored on a Jason Bourgeois 6-4 fielder’s choice. The Reds scored two more runs off Richard and Cahill on well-placed singles by Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.
Pedro Strop struck out three of the four batters he faced in the eighth.
Hector Rondon picked up save No. 29 on Thursday. Rondon gave up a two-out single to Joey Votto before Brandon Phillips rolled out to Russell for the 27th out.
The Cubs defense stepped up behind Jason Hammel early in the game. Chris Denorfia and Austin Jackson turned difficult catches into outs and helped keep Hammel out of trouble. Javier Baez played stellar defense at third base. Other than the error by Addison Russell in the seventh, the defense had another good game.
The Cubs completed the sweep of the three game series and finished the year with a 13-6 record against the Reds. The Cubs first season series victory over the Reds since 2009. Bryan Price’s team dropped its 12th straight game Thursday, the longest losing streak for Cincinnati since 1993.
With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to a season-high 29 games over .500 with a 94-65 record.
Jason Hammel led off the third inning of a scoreless game and rolled out to short (0-2 pitch). Addison Russell and Dexter Fowler worked walks.
Austin Jackson pulled a 1-1 pitch to deep left. And Jackson’s first homer with the Cubs, a three-run shot, gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead. Castro and Rizzo struck out swinging to end the inning. John Lamb made 53 pitches, 31 for strikes, in three innings.
Jason Hammel retired Tyler Holt on a grounder to Rizzo for the first out in the third. John Lamb doubled to left center on a 3-2 pitch and moved to third on a single to left (0-2 pitch) off the bat of Jason Bourgeois. A wild pitch on a 1-2 offering to Votto allowed Bourgeois to take second. Hammel struck out Votto swinging (3-2 pitch). Austin Jackson made an excellent running catch on a deep fly to right to take away a hit from Brandon Phillips to end the inning. Hammel needed 53 pitches, 34 for strikes, to complete three innings.
The Cubs had a 3-0 lead after three innings.
With the Cubs still leading 3-0, Russell struck out swinging to start the fifth. Dexter Fowler reached on a swinging bunt toward third. Austin Jackson worked a walk and put two on with one out. Castro flied out to right.
Anthony Rizzo drove a 2-2 pitch from Lamb down the left field line. The ball landed just inside the line and bounced into the stands. Fowler scored on Rizzo’s ground rule double, 4-0 Cubs. Bryan Price decided that was enough for John Lamb and went to his pen for Burke Badenhop. Brennan Boesch came in on the double switch in left, Bourgeois moved to center and Holt left the game.
Chris Denorfia dribbled a 1-1 pitch toward third. Frazier tried a barehand pick up. But with the rain and wet grass, Frazier could not get a handle on the ball. Jackson scored, Rizzo moved to third and Denorfia reached first, 5-0 Cubs. With heavy rain falling, Baez struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jason Hammel set the Reds down in order in the fifth.
And the Cubs had a 5-0 lead after five innings.
Fernando Rodney replaced Justin Grimm for the seventh inning. The Cubs had a 5-0 lead and were in control of the game. Eugenio Suarez led off with a single to left center (2-2 pitch). Tucker Barnhart singled to right center. The Reds had runners on first and second with no outs. Ramon Cabrera batted for Ryan Mattheus and reached on an error by Addison Russell. Cabrera broke his bat and rolled a 3-2 pitch to the hole at short. Russell booted the ball and the Reds loaded the bases with no outs. Rodney struck out Brennan Boesch.
Jason Bourgeois bounced a 2-0 pitch to Russell. Cabrera was forced at second. Bourgeois beat Castro’s throw to first. Suarez scored, 5-1 Cubs. With runners on the corners and two down, Joe Maddon went to his pen for Clayton Richard with Joey Votto due up. Votto singled to center. Barnhart scored, 5-2 Cubs. Maddon made the slow walk and replaced Richard with Trevor Cahill. Brandon Phillips chopped a 1-0 pitch toward the hole at shot. Baez tried to cut it off, the ball hit off glove and rolled past Russell into shallow left. Bourgeois scored, 5-3 Cubs. Cahill struck out Jay Bruce swinging to finally end the inning.
After seven complete, the Cubs had a 5-3 lead.
The Cubs could not add any insurance runs in the eighth or ninth innings. Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless eighth with three strikeouts. And Hector Rondon took the mound for the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs up 5-3.
Hector Rondon picked up two quick outs. Javier Baez made an excellent play on a grounder off the bat of Boesch for the first out. Bourgeois rolled out to Baez but Votto singled to center. Phillips stepped in representing the tying run. Phillips swung at the first pitch and rolled it to Russell … game over.
The Cubs open the final series of the regular season on Friday night (7:10pm CDT) at Miller Park. Jake Arrieta takes on rookie right-hander Ariel Pena in game one.