Reds mount 7th inning rally to steal win from Cubs
It seemed as though the Cubs had mounted a stellar, late-game rally.
Instead, the Reds hitters found a way to get to Craig Kimbrel, scoring a pair of 7th inning runs to beat the Cubs 6-5 in the nightcap of the doubleheader.
With two on and 1 out in the 7th, Aristides Aquino singled to score Freddy Galvis and tie the game at 5. Kimbrel threw a wild pitch that advanced Nicholas Castellanos and Aquino to 2nd and 3rd.
That forced the Cubs to intentionally walk Eugenio Suárez to have the double-play opportunity available. Kimbrel struck out Mike Moustakas. On the first pitch against José García, Kimbrel induced a swinging strike, but it went past Willson Contreras and Castellanos raced home to give the Reds the walk-off win.
It was a tough outing for Kimbrel, who had looked sharp in his last few appearances, who hadn’t allowed a hit and had struck out 11 in his previous 4.2 innings of work.
“I don’t think you ever wanna call blowing saves and losing games ‘part of the process,’” Kimbrel said. “But, I also wouldn’t call it a step back, either. I feel like my stuff is still good.”
The nightcap of the doubleheader saw four ejections – David Ross was ejected in the top of the 4th after a Tejay Antone pitch was near Anthony Rizzo’s head that he argued with umpires over.
Ross was confident that the pitch was intentional.
“It just looked like the young man on the mound was trying to send a message to one of our best players and throwing behind him or over his head or at his head, however you wanna look at it,” Ross said. “It just looked like he was trying to send a message to a guy that was having a really good day and maybe trying to make him uncomfortable.
“That’s not a slip, that’s not a miss, that’s not a grab-some-rosin-slip. That was intentional. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.”
That pitch was a chilling moment for Rizzo.
“Scary,” Rizzo said. “It’s just a scary situation … I don’t think any pitcher would purposely throw at somebody’s head. It probably did get away a little bit, but the intent to go inside, I definitely think it was there.
“It just can’t be at the head. It was scary. It’s just one of those moments where the direct pull shot at the head is just a life kinda flash before your eyes there for a second.”
In the bottom of the 4th, Adbert Alzolay threw a high fastball with Shogo Akiyama at the plate which prompted Reds manager David Bell to leave the dugout, clearing both benches and bullpens. In the aftermath, Bell, left fielder Jesse Winker and designated hitter Joey Votto were all ejected.
Alzolay showed his moxie. After José García and Akiyama reached to lead off the inning, he struck out Kyle Farmer, Willson Contreras threw out García stealing third and Alzolay struck out Curt Casali to escape the jam.
That kept the Cubs within one run, which was critical for the Cubs’ rally hopes. Nico Hoerner led off the top of the 5th with a fly ball that Castellanos dropped, allowing Hoerner to reach second. Two batters later, Happ drove him in on a double to left field to tie the game.
Hoerner gave the Cubs the lead in the 6th, when he hit a sacrifice fly to center with the bases loaded that scored Jason Heyward.
Happ gave the Cubs the lead to start the game, hitting a leadoff, wall-scraping home run that hit off the base of the right field foul pole. Votto answered for the Reds with a leadoff home run of his own in the bottom of the 1st. Casali and Winker hit a pair of homers off starter Alec Mills in the 3rd to give the Reds a 4-1 lead.
David Bote brought the Cubs back into the game with a 2-run missile to left center field in the 4th.
The Cubs bullpen picked up Mills, who allowed 4 runs in 3 innings of work. Alzolay, Ryan Tepera and Rowan Wick each pitched an inning of relief, allowing 2 hits and each notching 2 strikeouts.