Riding the momentum of their emphatic weekend sweep, the Cubs welcomed the Reds to town Monday for the opener of a three-game set. Cincinnati jumped on top early thanks to an Eugenio Suarez home run in the top of the 1st inning. Kyle Schwarber’s 20th bomb of the year tied things up in the third. The Cubs then scored two runs in the 4th to jump on top 3-1.
Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks seemed up to the task, giving up two runs on four hits over six innings. He wiggled out of a bases loaded jam in the 3rd, inducing a Yasiel Puig groundout to end the inning. Shoutout to Anthony Rizzo who made a spectacular pick at first on a throw from third basemen David Bote on that play.
Hendricks left the game with the lead, in line for the win. But a bullpen off-night combined with some shaky defense allowed the Reds to mount a comeback and ultimately hand the Cubs their first post All-Star break loss. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The Cubs renewed focus and clean play went on hiatus Monday night. Javy Baez and Bote each committed errors in the top of the 7th inning, allowing the Reds to take the lead. Rizzo misplayed a catchable foul pop-up that would have ended the 8th inning, opening the door for Cincinnati to tack on a couple of insurance runs.
Down 6-3, the North Siders put runners on first and second with one out in the 8th inning. Pinch-hitter Albert Almora hit a rocket line-drive to Reds third basemen Scooter Gennett, who doubled Addison Russell off second base to end the inning.
Stats that Matter
- Hendricks’ six-inning performance was his longest outing in more than a month. He went seven innings in a win over St. Louis on June 9.
- Jason Heyward turned in a two-hit night and is in the midst of a five-game hitting streak. He has multiple hits in three of his last four games.
- Steve Cisek’s six game scoreless outing streak ended when he gave up a game-tying home run to Reds catcher Curt Casali in the 7th inning.
The Bottom Line
The Cubs loss combined with a Cardinals win and Brewers loss momentarily shifts the balance of power in the uber-tight NL Central. St. Louis moves into second place, two games behind the Cubs. Milwaukee lurks 2.5 games back in third place.