Fresh off of sweeping Toronto, the Chicago Cubs were on fire going into the opener of a three game series against the Cincinnati Reds.
John Lackey took the mound as the starting pitcher, and it got off to a rocky start. A lead off single by Billy Hamilton, and a subsequent stolen base, followed by a walk, led to having men on the corners with no outs. The Reds were able to score off a wild pitch in that inning, giving them the early lead 0-1 going to the 2nd.
Cincinnati added another run in the 2nd, making it 0-2 going to the 3rd, and then another run scored in the 3rd, making it 0-4 going to the 4th.
Current National League Player of the Week, Anthony Rizzo looked like he was working for another Player of the Week award. He led off the 2nd inning with a double, and then led off the 4th with a single. Alex Avila walked after the Rizzo single, but as has happened perviously, in this game and past ones, the Cubs weren’t able to bring in any runs.
They’ve been struggling with RISP’s all season.
Despite the hard time pitching, Lackey walked both times he was at bat. He led off the 5th with a walk, followed by Jon Jay with a single. Leaving two on, nobody out for Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant, and Rizzo. Schwarber hit a single to right field, leaving the bases loaded for Byrzzo and company. Bryant hit a sac fly, allowing Lackey to get the Cubbies first run of the night. This left men on the corners for Rizzo, who brought in Jay for an RBI single. Avila walked next, leaving the bases loaded for Jason Heyward, who brought in the tying run with an RBI single. 3-3 going to the bottom of the 5th.
The Cubs came alive after that three run inning. Lackey seemed to be pitching (somewhat) better, the defense behind him seemed to wake up, and they were tied, no longer down by three runs.
However, a three run homer by Eugenio Suarez gave the Reds that lead right back, making it 3-6 in the bottom of the 5th.
Javier Baez led off the 6th with a single, followed by pinch hitter Tommy La Stella who hit a sac fly, and when attempting to throw Baez out, hit him, letting Baez score on an error, making it 4-6 going to the second half of the 6th.
The Cubs were back in business in the 7th, thanks to a two run single from Baez, tying the game again at 6-6, bringing up pinch hitter Ben Zorbrist, who delivered with a two run double, giving the Cubbies the lead for the first time in the game, making it 8-6 going to the bottom of the 7th.
The Cubbies had a monstrous 8th inning, with Schwarber walking to lead it off, followed by Bryant and Rizzo walking as well, bringing up Ian Happ with the bases loaded and no outs. He brought in a run with an RBI single, with the bases still loaded and no outs. Avila then brought in a run with a single, with the bases still loaded, with no outs for Jason Heyward. He brought in a run with a single. Happ scored on a wild pitch to Baez not too long after. Zobrist bought in a run with as well, making it 13-6 when all was said and done.
Talk about getting some insurance runs (and all without hitting a single home run).
KB was hit by a pitch in the forearm/hand area in the 9th, but seemed well enough to stay in the game although he kept looking at it while on base. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.
Rizzo replaced Bryant at 3rd in the bottom of the 9th, his first time ever playing that position, with Avila on first, and Rene Rivera catching.
The Reds added some runs in the 9th thanks to a couple home runs, making it 13-9, where it would stay.
Good thing they got those insurance runs.
The Cubs remain in first place in the NL Central, Mike Montgomery takes the mound on Wednesday, and Jake Arrieta takes it Thursday to close out the series.
Fly the W Cubs fans, and let’s hope they sweep the Reds!