Game Seventeen – Cubs 8, Reds 1
WP – Jon Lester (2-1) LP – Jon Moscot (0-1) Save – None
Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez homered. David Ross and Jon Lester squeezed in two runs in the fourth inning and Jon Lester gave up one run over seven innings as the Cubs stayed on track against the Reds on Friday night in Cincinnati.
Friday’s game was closer than the final score indicates. The Cubs scored four runs in the ninth inning to pull away from the Reds and turn a three run game into a lopsided victory.
The Cubs played a little small ball that put three of the first four runs on the board.
Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a home run, a stolen base and three runs scored) had a big night at the plate and on the bases. Baez scored the first run of the game in the second inning after he led off with a single to right and swiped second. Baez moved to third when Addison Russell (1-for-4 with a run scored) grounded out to short. Baez tagged and scored from third on a sac fly from David Ross (0-for-2 with a sac fly, a sac bunt and two RBI).
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a home run and two walks) went yard for the third straight game. Rizzo led off the fourth and launched the first pitch from Jon Moscot into the stands in right.
Ben Zobrist (1-for-2 with two walks) walked after Rizzo’s blast but was erased on a 6-4 fielder’s choice off the bat of Javier Baez. Addison Russell singled to right, Baez moved to third and it was setup for Joe Maddon’s favorite play.
With runners on the corners and one down, David Ross dropped down the bunt and Baez scored on the suicide squeeze. Jon Moscot threw the ball away and allowed the Russell to move to third and Ross to take second base. Maddon called for the squeeze again, this time with Lester at the plate.
Jon Lester executed the safety squeeze, Russell scored and the Cubs took a 4-0 lead. Dexter Fowler (1-for-5 with a double and a RBI) lined out to Brandon Phillips to end the inning.
The score remained 4-0 Cubs until the sixth inning.
Jon Lester was very good Friday night as he allowed only one run on five hits. One of the hits left the park in the sixth when Zack Cozart broke up the shutout with a solo homer to left central. Lester gave up a single to Eugenio Suarez after the Cozart homer but he was erased when Joey Votto rapped into a 4-6-3 double play.
Lester finished his night by retiring the Reds in order in the seventh inning. Jon Lester allowed one run on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts on 100 pitches, 66 for strikes.
The Cubs added on in the ninth with four jug runs off J.J. Hoover and Ross Ohlendorf. Bryan Price had to use two relievers to record three outs.
Javier Baez led off the ninth with a solo homer to left, a line drive shot that made it 5-1 Cubs. The offense then used three straight two-out doubles for the final three runs.
Tommy La Stella (1-for-1 with a run scored) batted for Pedro Strop and singled with two outs. Dexter Fowler doubled in La Stella and he scored on a Jason Heyward (1-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, a stolen base and a RBI) double to right.
Kris Bryant (1-for-5 with a double and a RBI) doubled to center and plated Heyward with the Cubs eighth and final run. Bryan Price replaced Hoover with Ohlendorf and Rizzo popped out to short to end the inning.
Justin Grimm replaced Pedro Strop for the ninth. Grimm hit Votto with a pitch but retired Phillips and Devin Mesoraco to end the game.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 13-4 on the young season.
The Cubs and Reds play game three of four on Saturday night (6:10pm CDT) at Great American Ball Park. John Lackey is scheduled to face Dan Straily.