The Chicago Cubs (50-26), behind a masterful pitching performance by Jon Lester (9-3, 2-03 ERA), were leading most of the game behind a Ben Zobrist solo home run and a Jon Lester RBI single (yes, I just wrote that). That was until the bottom of the ninth inning when the Reds got to Hector Rondon, scoring a run with two outs to tie things up at 2-2.
In extra innings things got off to a slow start – a really slow start. Neither team could manage to get a runner in scoring position from the ninth through the fourteenth innings. The most exciting thing that happened was when Cubs’s skipper Joe Maddon played the shell game in the fourteenth inning, shuffling Spencer Patton and Travis Wood between pitching and left field (yes, I just wrote that).
As the Cubs came up in the fifteenth inning, it felt like the game may never end. After a Ben Zobrist walk and Jason Heyward single, Kris Bryant singled to score the first run in six long innings.
The Reds intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo to load the bases. After Jason Hammel grounded out, Javier Baez came up to bat. With one smooth, powerful swing, Baez launched an absolute bomb grand slam to straight center field. And the Cubs’ fans erupted at Great American Ballpark.
Cubs win a big one 7-2 (Box Score).
Stats that mattered
- Lester pitched a brilliant game – 7.2IP, 1R, 3H, 1BB, 4Ks, HR
- Rondon blew the save – 1.1IP, 1R, 2H, 1K
- The Cubs used eight pitchers in this one. Kyle Hendricks will need to pitch well tomorrow.
- The Cubs were held to nine hits in fifteen innings….against the Reds, who have the worst pitching in baseball.
A win’s a win. The Cubs gladly take this one. The head scratcher is how the Cubs, the top offense in baseball, could be held to nine hits by the Reds, the worst pitching staff in baseball. It happens, I get it, but it just goes to show you that in professional baseball, even teams as good as the Cubs can get shut down on any given night. The best part is that they managed to find a way to win. This is a big win for the Cubs in a brutal stretch of 24 straight games leading to the all-star break.
The Cubs meet the Reds on Wednesday at 11:35 AM CDT. Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 2.76 ERA) takes the hill for the Cubs.