Cubs rallies fall short, fall to Reds in Cincinnati
Kyle Hendricks’ second game of the season featured another gem from a starter.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the pitcher who twirled that gem played for the Reds.
Sonny Gray allowed just 1 hit – an Ian Happ double – as he struck out 11 in 6.2 innings of work as the Reds downed the Cubs 12-7 in Cincinnati.
“Sonny was tough,” Hendricks said. “He was locked in tonight. Just real tough at-bats.”
It was always going to be tough for Kyle Hendricks to follow up his Opening Day performance against the Brewers.
The Reds lineup featured the return of offseason free agent signing Mike Moustakas return to the lineup after missing the first two games of the series and Nick Senzel. Senzel and Moustakas had missed the first two games of the series after reporting symptoms potentially consistent with coronavirus over the weekend. Moustakas and Nick Senzel had appealed a league determination of a longer absence.
Even so, Hendricks pitched 3 shutout innings to start the game and looked to be keeping the Cubs in the game.
But then in the 4th inning, Moustakas made his return count. He crushed a 2-run home run on a changeup to right field to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. It was the first time this season that the Cubs did not score the first run of the game.
Hendricks’ struggles continued in the fifth. After loading the bases with one out, Eugenio Suárez singled to center field and scored Freddy Galvis and Shogo Akiyama, forcing David Ross to turn to Rex Brothers and the bullpen.
“It was just a battle from the start today, really,” Hendricks said. “It just wasn’t good. Everything was up. I kinda got away with some pitches even in the 1st [and] 2nd inning the first time through the order. Just rolling through my delivery, just really didn’t do anything well, couldn’t pitch inside effectively, so it’s just back to work tomorrow.”
The lefty, Brothers, was brought in to face the left-handed Moustakas, but he walked Moustakas to load the bases. Three pitches later, Nicholas Castellanos hit a grand slam to left center field. Two batters later Senzel hit a solo shot that gave the Reds a 9-0 lead.
“I think [Castellanos’ grand slam] was definitely a big home run for them,” Ross said. “We got ourselves into a little bit of that situation.”
The Cubs offense showed it’s never-say-die attitude. They brought 10 men to the plate and scored 5 runs in the 7th inning.
“We’ve got a really good offense and don’t count us out,” Ross said. “The offense is doing its part and they continue to have really good at-bats.”
The Reds added 3 more runs in the bottom half of the inning and had the bases loaded with no outs. But Duane Underwood Jr. and the Cubs escaped the jam.
Bryant caught an Akiyama liner, stepped on third and threw to Happ at 1st to turn a triple play to get the Cubs out of the jam.
David Bote made things interesting in the 9th. He hit his second home run of the season and the Cubs added a pair of runners on base, but Josh Phegley flew out to end the threat.
Bote is hitting 5-for-10 on the season with a 1.783 OPS.
“These guys continue to grind even with putting in kinda the line change,” Ross said. “David Bote, I mean, he’s swinging a really good bat right now.”
Yu Darvish takes the hill on Thursday as the Cubs look to win their first road series of the year.