Following an easy win in the series opener Friday night, the Cubs looked to keep things going against the last-place Reds in the first game of a twin bill in Cincinnati.
The Reds got on the board first as Scooter Gennett hit a two-out single to center in the bottom of the 1st to give Cincinnati an early 1-0 lead. The Cubs tied it up at 1-1 in the top of the 3rd on a Kris Bryant double, but the Reds would retake the lead in the 4th on an Eugenio Suarez sacrifice fly.
After Ian Happ hit a leadoff triple to start the 6th, starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks drove him home with an RBI double to once again tie things up, 2-2. Cincinnati wasted little time retaking the lead in the bottom of the 6th. An Addison Russell error and a walk to Joey Votto led off the frame before Gennett hit an RBI single to give the Reds a 3-2 advantage. Suarez immediately followed up with a double to knock in Votto, making it 4-2.
Happ hit an opposite-field home run to lead off the 8th and cut the deficit in half, while Tommy La Stella followed up with a pinch-hit single to right. Two outs later, Anthony Rizzo drove a 2-2 pitch into the gap in left-center field to knot things up at 4-4.
The score would remain the same until the bottom of the 11th. After Justin Wilson was squeezed in allowing a leadoff walk, he proceeded to allow a bloop single and a walk to load the bases with nobody out. With five Cubs playing in on the infield, Billy Hamilton never had to put the ball in play, as Wilson walked him on five pitches to give the Reds a 5-4 victory (box score).
Why the Cubs Lost
The Cubs offense had no problem reaching base in this one, as they tallied 12 hits and eight walks against Cincinnati pitching. Converting those into runs was another story. Chicago stranded 14 baserunners and was an astounding 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position. Yikes.
After a Bryant single and stolen base put him in scoring position with one out in the top of the 11th, the Cubs had yet another scoring opportunity in their sights. However, they were once again unable to take advantage, as Russell popped out to center and Victor Caratini grounded out weakly to second to end the threat.
Stats That Matter
- Although he has had a rocky 2018, Happ had a big day in Game 1, finishing with three extra-base hits (HR, 3B, 2B), a walk and two runs scored.
- Randy Rosario was called up before the game to act as the 26th man on the roster and he took full advantage of his opportunity. He entered the game in the bottom of the 6th with runners on second and third with nobody out and was able to escape without allowing any further damage. Rosario ended his Cubs debut with two shutout innings, allowing no hits and a walk while striking out two.
- The final line for Hendricks doesn’t look great (5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K), but he actually pitched pretty well. An untimely error and unlucky hit sequencing ultimately brought an early end to his afternoon.
Going to extras in the first game of a doubleheader is hardly ideal, but losing the game makes it doubly tough. Now the Cubs will have to hope for a lengthy outing from Jose Quintana in game 2 as they try to salvage a split.
The Cubs get a brief respite before playing the evening portion of a day-night doubleheader. Quintana (4-3, 5.23) will take the mound for Chicago, while Cincinnati will counter with right-hander Sal Romano (2-4, 4.84). First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. CT and will air on WGN.