The Cubs and Reds opened up a four-game weekend series with a game that started off well, but ended up pretty frustrating.
The Cubs struck first against former-Met Matt Harvey with two runs in the 3rd inning. With one out in the inning, Kris Bryant was hit by a pitch. He then advanced to second on a single by Jason Heyward. With two men on and only one out, Javier Baez smacked a double to right bringing home Baez and Heyward, putting the Cubs up 2-0.
Kyle Hendricks went five scoreless innings, thanks in part to two opportune double plays. In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Eugenio Suarez led off the inning with a single. Jesse Winker followed up by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play to wipe out Suarez. Kyle Hendricks then faced Adam Duvall who worked up a full count before striking out.
Then in the 5th inning, Jesse Winker led off with a walk. Adam Duvall was out number one after flying out to Ian Happ. Next up was Reds starter Matt Harvey who bunted. Willson Contreras charged at the ball and threw it to Addison Russell at second, and he shot it over to Javy Baez who was covering first for an inning-ending double play.
Kyle Hendricks found himself entering the 6th inning with a 2-0 lead but he ran into trouble that would knock him out of the game. The inning led off with a walk to the speedy Billy Hamilton. Two outs later, Hendricks issued a walk to Joey Votto. Kyle Hendricks was in a bit of a jam, but with two outs, we thought he might be able to get out of it. Unfortunately, Scooter Gennett singled to load the bases. It only got worse from them as Hendricks issued his third walk of the inning, this time to Eugenio Suarez which forced in a run. Joe Maddon decided to pull Hendricks and bring in Randy Rosario from the pen. Rosario had been great this season with runners inherited, allowing zero of ten to score. Today, that was tarnished as Rosario gave up a grand slam to Jesse Winker, putting the Reds up 5-2. Even after that big blow for the Cubs, the inning didn't end. Three consecutive singles - one each by Adam Duvall, Alex Blandino, and Billy Hamilton drove in one more run. At the end of six innings, the Reds led the Cubs 6-2.
The Cubs tried to put together a rally in the top of the 7th inning to get back into the game. With two outs, Kris Byrant singled and Jason Heyward doubled. The Cubs had two men on with two outs for Javy Baez, who worked an amazing plate appearance. He battled for Michael Lorenzon and walked on the 8th pitch of the at-bat. That loaded the bases for the Cubs and Anthony Rizzo. Unfortunately, Rizzo saw only three pitches from Reds reliever Amir Garrett and was called out on strikes. That ended the inning, and killed the Cubs' momentum for the rest of the game.
It was just another game where walks killed the Cubs. All three walks issued to the Reds in their 6th inning came around to score. I'm one to always look for a silver lining in Cubs losses, and today, I found one. Jason Heyward had a four-hit game today with three singles and a double. This is his second four-hit game this month! If that isn't impressive, I don't know what to tell you. After starting off the season struggling, Heyward has been great with the bat as of late. There are four other Cubs who have had a four-hit game this season - Addison Russell, Albert Almora Jr., Javier Baez, and Willson Contreras. The Brewers won over the Cardinals tonight so the Cubs are one game behind the Brewers for the division lead.
Tomorrow is another day, and the Cubs will send Jose Quintana to the mound to face off with Luis Castillo at 6:10 p.m. CT on WGN. Maybe the Cubs can brush themselves off from a tough loss tonight and have an offensive explosion tomorrow. Here's to hoping!
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