Game One Hundred Sixty-One – Cubs 4, Reds 7
WP – Tim Adleman (4-4) LP – Jon Lester (19-5) Save – Raisel Iglesias (6)
For only the second time this season in nine games, the Cubs lost a game to the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Jon Lester did not have it Saturday as he tried for his 20th win of the season. Lester struggled with his command. Lester surrendered five runs in five innings, his worst start since July 9.
The Cubs lost for the fourth time all season to the Reds on Saturday afternoon.
Jon Lester was simply off Saturday. Lester struggled with his command during the short, five-inning outing. Lester made 26 pitches in the second inning and 30 in the third. Lester was gone after five. Lester was charged with five runs, all earned, on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Lester made 111 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Lester allowed the leadoff man to reach in each of his first three innings and in four of the five he completed. Lester had a lot of deep counts than ran up his pitch count. Lester made 26 pitches in the second inning and 30 in the third, just uncharacteristic of the southpaw this season.
Saturday was the first time Lester allowed more than one run in any one start since Aug. 11. Before Saturday, the last time Lester surrendered three runs was back on July 24 at Miller Park when he gave up four runs in four innings. For the last start that Lester allowed five runs in a single start, it was his outing of before the break in Pittsburgh on July 9.
The Cubs scored three of their four runs in the fourth inning. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a run scored) singled to left with one out, just the Cubs second hit of the game. Addison Russell (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) walked with two outs.
Jason Heyward (1-for-3 with a double, a walk, a run scored and two RBI) lined a 0-2 pitch to right. Patrick Kivlehan broke in and he could not correct his mistake. The ball sailed over his head. Rizzo and Russell scored on a double from Heyward. Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Heyward but he was caught trying to advance to second to end the inning.
Ben Zobrist (1-for-4 with a home run) launched his third home run in two games in the eighth.
Dexter Fowler (2-for-3 with a walk) reached a milestone Saturday. Fowler had two singles, the second in the seventh inning was the 1,000th hit of his career.
The Cubs scored four runs on eight hits and three walks with nine strikeouts. The Cubs were 3-for-6 with RISP and left five men on base.
Jon Lester had a rough start to the game that put the Cubs behind the eight-ball. Lester hit the first batter he faced, Jose Peraza, on a 0-2 pitch. Peraza stole second and moved to third when Ivan DeJesus Jr. grounded out to first base. With the infield in, Joey Votto smacked a 1-1 pitch that Zobrist could not field cleanly. Peraza scored, Zobrist threw out Votto at first base and the Reds took a 1-0 lead without a hit.
The Reds added on in the second inning. Steve Selsky ripped a 1-1 pitch into right for a single. Eugenio Suarez drove a 2-1 pitch the other way and out to right. The Reds took a 3-0 lead on Suarez’s two-run shot. Lester struck out Patrick Kivlehan and Ramon Cabrera. Tim Adleman singled to center. Lester finally ended the inning by retiring Peraza on a flyout to right. It took Lester 26 pitches to get through the second inning. And he was down 3-0 after two complete.
Lester walked DeJesus Jr. to start the third and that free pass ended up costing the Cubs another run. Votto followed with a single to right. Duvall walked and the Reds loaded the bases with no outs. Selsky lined out to second. Eugenio Suarez lifted a 2-2 pitch to left center. Bryant caught the ball and threw home. Bryant’s throw was well off the mark before it was cut off. DeJesus Jr. scored, 4-0 Reds. Lester struck out Kivlehan swinging to end the inning.
Lester made 30 pitches in the third inning. And after three innings, the Cubs were in a 4-0 hole.
Jon Lester pitched the fifth and served up back-to-back doubles to DeJesus Jr. and Votto that gave the Reds a 5-3 lead. Lester completed the fifth but his command was just off enough that he had to make too many pitches to go any deeper in the game.
The Reds tacked on in the seventh against Hector Rondon. DeJesus and Votto started the inning with back-to-back doubles that gave the Reds a 6-3 lead. The Reds seventh and final run scored when Hernan Iribarren singled to center. Votto scored but the Cubs threw out Selsky at third to end the inning. Rondon really struggled with his slider again.
Aroldis Chapman gave up a hit and a walk in a 27-pitch eighth inning. Chapman wasn’t sharp but he struck out two and did not allow the Reds to add to the lead.
The Cubs slipped to 102-58 on the season with Saturday’s loss.
It’s Game 162 on Sunday afternoon (2:10pm CDT). Kyle Hendricks takes on Robert Stephenson in the regular season finale.