After a 4th inning fracas that seemed to light a fire under the Cubs and spur a would-be game-winning rally, Craig Kimbrel imploded again in the bottom of the 7th to give the Reds a 6-5 victory and split of the day’s doubleheader.
Ian Happ led off the second game of the twin bill with a home run to right that just barely sneaked out of the yard to stake the Cubs to a 1-0 lead right away. Unfortunately, Alec Mills got hit pretty hard in this one, lasting only three innings and giving up four runs. Among those were a Joey Votto leadoff bomb followed by 3rd inning taters from Curt Casali and Jesse Winker that put the Reds up 4-1.
And that’s where things got interesting. After a Tejay Antone fastball that sailed over Anthony Rizzo‘s head, Mike Borzello and David Ross were given the heave-ho after many words were spoken behind masks. David Bell, Joey Votto, and Jesse Winker got sent to the showers as well after a high Adbert Alzolay pitch got the Reds all red-assed in the bottom of the inning.
As is often the case with these matters, the Cubs seemed to be spurred by the incident and rallied for two runs in the 4th, one in the 5th, and one more in the 6th to put them up 5-4 heading into the 7th inning. It would seem that the David Bote home run, Ian Happ RBI double, and Nico Hoerner sac fly would hold up and give the Cubs a sweep of the day.
In the bottom of the 7th, however, Kimbrel looked like the guy we saw over the first couple weeks of the season. After giving up the tying run on an Aristides Aquino flair into center and subsequently loading the bases, the sad irony was that a swinging strike was what won the game for the Reds. A low curveball went right through Willson Contreras‘s legs and all the way to the backstop, allowing Nicholas Castellanos to score the winning run. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
Kimbrel could not find the strike zone and the Cubs let the Reds steal one they had already stolen fair and square.
It was nearly the ball that sailed over Rizzo’s head, but became Kimbrel’s swinging-strike curveball through the wickets to allow the game-winning run to score in the bottom of the 7th.
Stats That Matter
- Five people were ejected in the nightcap; two for the Cubs and three for the Reds. Ross earned his first ejection as a manager.
- Bote continues to be clutch for the Cubs, going 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and a walk. Oh, and that 449-foot blast into the second deck in the 4th inning.
- Happ had a nice bounce-back game after struggling in the first; he went 2-for-3 as well with a home run to start the game.
- Kimbrel’s line: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2K, BS, L. After stringing together a few really good outings in a row, he seemed to have lost his command yet again in this one. His ERA for the season is now 10.13.
After nearly snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, the Cubs grabbed the wrong outcome in this one. Instead of an emotionally-fueled comeback, it will go down as another rough outing from the guy they signed to be a lockdown closer last summer. The Cubs are back at it Sunday in the Queen City to try and salvage a split of this four-game series.
The Cubs finish up their series at Great American Ball Park with an afternoon game against the Reds. Tyler Chatwood is on the mound in his second start since returning from back tightness and he’ll be facing Luis Castillo. Gametime is 12:10pm CT and can be seen on Marquee Sports Network. As always you can listen to Pat and Coom on 670 The Score.