Diving catch by Nico Hoerner stymies Reds rally, sparks Cubs’ momentum
The 10-1 score line might suggest the Cubs were never really threatened by the Reds on Sunday afternoon.
For large portions of the game, that was the case. But the Reds definitely struck up an offensive salvo that had them in position to make things very interesting.
With two outs in the 7th inning and trailing 6-1, the Reds loaded the bases and brought Nicholas Castellanos to the plate against Ryan Tepera. Between he and Jesse Winker, they have been two of the best hitters in the Reds lineup, so the situation was ripe for scoring some runs and clawing back into the game.
Tepera missed on a fastball inside, leaving it over the heart of the plate. Castellanos connected and ripped an 87.5 mile-per-hour liner. Tepera realized his mistake and crouched down, expecting the worse.
Only, second baseman Nico Hoerner took a few steps to his left, dove and snatched the ball out of the air for the final out of the inning.
“That was great,” David Ross said. “We feel like we’ve been getting beat to the right side of second base a lot this series and I thought that was a nice play. We had creeped him over there, especially on Castellanos a couple times. It seemed like they were hitting that hole a lot.
“When it was hit at him, I was like, please catch that. It was [a] nice diving play, the dugout erupted. It was nice. It was fun, fun to watch.”
That play, which can easily be overlooked given the end result, was big for the Cubs.
“It saves our pitching staff,” Jason Heyward said. “It gives us momentum on defense going into offense and it’s kinda deflating when a team has something going, especially in this ballpark, [where] you’re a couple of swings away. It was huge for us to get back in the dugout, go put some more runs on and keep things right there for them.”