After leap-frogging into first place in the NL Central on Friday, the Chicago Cubs (39-20) added a little distance on Saturday. The Cubs scored late to take the lead and beat the Cincinnati Reds (37-21) by a score of 6-4, via MLB The Show 20.
Cubs starter José Quintana pitched extremely well once again, going six innings and surrendering just one earned run on five hits and four walks. That run didn’t come until the 6th inning, when Eugenio Suárez scored on a Curt Casali sacrifice fly, but the Cubs were already ahead 4-0 by then.
Chicago got on the board against Sonny Gray in the 2nd inning when Victor Caratini knocked Jason Heyward in, putting them ahead 1-0. They scored again in the 4th inning when Nico Hoerner squeezed home Heyward from third, making it 2-0. Kris Bryant followed with a two-run homer, putting the Cubs ahead 4-0.
Fast forward to the 7th inning with the Cubs ahead 4-1, when David Ross decided to use Adbert Alzolay in relief of Quintana. Alzolay allowed a leadoff single to Nicholas Castellanos, then gave up a hard single to Joey Votto and a three-run home run to Suárez. Suddenly, the score was tied.
Alzolay was able to navigate the rest of that inning without giving up any more runs and the game remained tied until the bottom of the 8th. With the two-way star Michael Lorenzen on the mound, Albert Almora Jr. started a rally with a leadoff double. Heyward and Caratini both worked arduous plate appearances that resulted in walks, loading the bases with nobody out.
Next up was Hoerner, who drove the ball into the alley in right-center to bring home two runners and put the Cubs ahead, 6-4.
Craig Kimbrel, who began to warm up when Almora cranked the double, was plenty ready to come in to pitch the 9th. Despite a one-out, four-pitch walk to the dangerous Suárez, Kimbrel was able to shut the Reds down quietly and earn his 22nd save of the season.
Notes: Ross said after the game that the Cubs made the decision to send Alzolay back to Triple-A and recall left-hander Brad Wieck, but that it had more to do with needing fresh bullpen arms than Alzolay’s performance on Saturday. Wieck has thrown 16 1/3 innings with the Iowa Cubs this season, striking out 23 batters with eight walks and a solid 2.20 ERA. He will arrive for tomorrow’s game at Wrigley Field on three days of rest. Along with Danny Hultzen and Kyle Ryan, the Cubs will now have three left-handers in their eight-man bullpen.
Bryant – 3-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
Almora – 2-for-4, 2B, R
Caratini – 2-for-3, BB, R, RBI
Heyward – 1-for-2, 2 BB, 3 R
Quintana – 6 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 1 ER, 6 K
Suárez – 2-for-3, 2 BB, HR, 3 RBI
Galvis – 2-for-4, 2B
Winning Pitcher – Cotton (1-0)
Losing Pitcher – Lorenzen (1-2)
Save – Kimbrel (22)
Home Runs – Bryant (20), Suárez (18)