The Cubs looked to continue their hot stretch against Sonny Gray and the Reds. Yu Darvish took the mound for the visitors with a chance to overcome his well-documented struggles against the struggling Reds offense.
Both teams struck early in this contest, starting when Eugenio Suarez took advantage of a hanging breaking ball in the bottom of the 1st to lead off the scoring with an RBI double. However, the lead did not last long.
Addison Russell hit a two-out, two-run shot that barely cleared the wall in center for his first home run of the year. Albert Almora Jr. added to the lead in the 4th inning with a bomb of his own deep into the left field stands.
Darvish took a step toward turning his season around, showing strong command of his fastball to complement his nasty breaking pitches. He kept the Reds guessing all evening with 11 strikeouts and no walks through 5.1 innings.
After trading runs in the 7th inning, the almost-hometown power hitter gave friends and family something to cheer about. Kyle Schwarber launched a homer to right-center field, restoring the Cubs’ two-run lead.
The bullpen could not hold the lead as Carl Edwards Jr. came in with a runner on in the 8th inning and gave up a game-tying two-run homer to Suarez. The bullpen struggles continued in extra innings, when Brad Brach loaded the bases in the 10th for Yasiel Puig, who walked it off with a long single to deep center. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
Every reliever that came into the game struggled this evening, giving up a combined four runs on seven hits over four innings.
Edwards entered the 8th inning with a two-run lead and couldn’t keep his fastball down against Suarez, who hit the game-tying homer.
Stats That Matter
- The Reds were waiting on the walk against Darvish, who got six of his 11 strikeouts via called third strikes.
- The Cubs offense was led by the bottom of the lineup. The 1-5 hitters combined to go 3-for-23 with all of those hits coming in the 7th or later.
- Heyward could not break out of his massive slump, going 0-for-5 tonight. He has three hits in his last 33 at-bats and has seen his average drop from a high of .329 on May 1 to .250.
This was a tough loss for the Cubs. They wasted a solid start from Darvish, quality offense from Almora and Russell and held the lead for most of the game. The bullpen has stepped up over the past month and will need to quickly rebound for the Cubs to maintain momentum on the road trip.