Game One Hundred Sixty-Two – Cubs 7, Reds 4
WP – Justin Grimm (2-1) LP – Raisel Iglesias (3-2, BS 2) Save – Carl Edwards Jr. (2)
Down 4-3 with the bases empty and two outs in the ninth, Albert Almora Jr. walked. Munenori Kawasaki followed with a single to center. With two on, Matt Szczur worked a full count. Szczur sliced the 3-2 offering from Raisel Iglesias down the first baseline. Almora Jr. and Kawasaki scored and the Cubs took a 5-4 lead on Szczur’s two-out double.
Miguel Montero batted for Justin Grimm and hit a towering two-run blast to right field. The Cubs scored four runs with two outs in the ninth. Carl Edwards Jr. pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning and the Cubs beat the Reds in comeback fashion on the final day of the regular season.
The Cubs finished the season 103-58-1 after Sunday’s comeback win over the Reds, the most wins in a single season for the franchise since 1910.
The Cubs scored five of their seven runs in their last two at-bats against the Reds bullpen. Willson Contreras (2-for-4 with a home run, a walk and two RBI) chipped into the Reds 4-2 lead with a solo shot to center in the eighth. Cubs’ catchers hit the final two homers of the regular season. And Miguel Montero, who hit the Cubs’ first dinger of the year on Opening Night in Anaheim, launched the Cubs’ final homer of the regular season in the ninth inning Sunday.
Kyle Hendricks struggled Sunday afternoon at the Great American Ball Park. Hendricks was off in the first inning. In his defense, not a single close pitch went his way. Hendricks labored through possibly his worst and longest inning of the season. Hendricks gave up three runs in the first that included a bases loaded walk to Eugenio Suarez for the first run of the game. Hendricks made 34 pitches in the first, only 18 were called strikes.
Kyle Hendricks turned the game over to the bullpen after the fifth inning. Hendricks allowed four runs on six hits with a walk, a HBP and four strikeouts. Hendricks made 88 pitches, 57 for strikes. Sunday was the first time in any start since May 17 that Hendricks allowed four runs.
The Cubs pen of Mike Montgomery, Joe Smith, Travis Wood and Justin Grimm did its job and did not allow the Reds to tack on. The Cubs offense, however, could not string together any hits until two outs in the ninth inning.
Carl Edwards Jr. was sharp in the ninth. Edwards Jr. retired the Reds in order on 12 pitches, seven for strikes, for his second save.
The Cubs scored single runs in the third and four innings before Joe Maddon starting emptying his bench in the fifth.
Dexter Fowler (1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored) led off the third with a walk. Fowler went to third on a single to left by Kris Bryant (1-for-2 with a walk). Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3 with a RBI) grounded out to second on a 1-2 pitch. Fowler scored and cut the Reds lead to 3-1 at the time. Ben Zobrist (0-for-2 with a walk) and Addison Russell (0-for-3) struck out swinging with Bryant at second to end the inning.
Jason Heyward (1-for-1 with a double, a walk and a run scored) started the fourth with a walk against Robert Stephenson. Jorge Soler (0-for-2 with a walk) walked.
Willson Contreras ripped a single to left. Heyward scored and made it a 3-2 game in the fourth. Kyle Hendricks popped out to third and Fowler grounded out to short. With runners on second and third, Bryant struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs scored seven runs on nine hits and nine walks. The Cubs struck out 12 times and finished the game 3-for-16 with RISP while leaving 10 men on base.
With Sunday’s win (14-12 in Sundays in 2016), the Cubs finished the regular season 103-58-1, 45 games over .500.
The Cubs next game is Friday at Wrigley Field, Game 1 of the National League Division Series. Jon Lester is expected to get the ball. The Cubs will take on the NL Wild Card winner, which will be either the Giants or the Mets.
The NL Wild Card Game is set for Wednesday at Citi Field … Noah Syndergaard and the Mets versus the Giants and Madison Bumgarner.