|Cincinnati Reds (71-81)
|Chicago Cubs (82-69)
|W: Gray (11-7) L: Darvish (6-7) SV: Iglesias (32)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
The Reds got on the board early, capping a 3-run first inning with a home run by Aristides Aquino. From there Sonny Gray, Michael Lorenzen, and Raisel Iglesias kept the Cubs down as the early lead held up.
The Reds got things going in the top of the 1st, taking it to Yu Darvish. Josh VanMeter singled up the middle and then scored on a Joey Votto double to put Cincinnati up 1-0. After a strikeout, Aristides Aquino unloaded on a fastball in the middle of the zone and put it in the bleachers to make it a 3-0 game. It was his first home run since September 2nd. For anyone else that wouldn’t feel strange. For Aquino it feels like he last homered in 1957.
The Reds bats went quiet for a while after that, including striking out 8 times in a row in the middle innings. But the Cincinnati bats got working again in the 5th and it began with Sonny Gray who lined a single into right field. Joey Votto would walk later in the inning to move him along and Eugenio Suarez followed up with an RBI single to take the Reds lead to 4-2. There wasn’t much offense to follow, but the Reds did threaten in the 8th when Votto again walked and Suarez followed up with a single. Nothing came of it, though, as Votto was thrown out at the plate on a fielders choice in an ill-advised attempt to score on a grounder to second base.
Sonny Gray did what he’s done for the entire second half of this baseball season: Get. It. Done. The Cubs did get a run in the bottom of the 1st when Kyle Schwarber doubled in a run. And he would do it again in the 3rd on a triple to cut the Reds lead to 3-2. But the Reds All-Star pitcher shut things down from there. Gray finished the day with just those 2 runs allowed in 6.2 innings. He gave up 4 hits and walked 3 batters while striking out 9. But when he left the game in the bottom of the 7th there were runners on the corners.
Michael Lorenzen made quick work of things though, striking out Nicholas Castellanos on 4 pitches to end the inning and the threat. He came back out for the 8th inning and worked around an infield single for a shutout frame that included a strikeout.
Michael Lorenzen handed the ball off to closer Raisel Iglesias for the bottom of the 9th. For his part, Lorenzen moved out to center field. Iglesias put him to work right away as the first batter he saw hit a fly ball that Lorenzen had to run down for the first out of the inning. Nico Hoerner struck out to follow as he swung over an 86-MPH slider on the 5th pitch of the at-bat. University of Cincinnati’s own Ian Happ was next and he battled for a 7-pitch at-bat, but struck out looking at a 97-MPH fastball on the outside corner to end the game.
Notes Worth Noting
Sonny Gray recorded 9 strikeouts on the night, giving him 199 on the season. He needs a single strikeout in his final start of the season to reach 200 and join Luis Castillo at the 200 strikeout mark. If that happens they will be the only teammates to ever record 200 or more strikeouts in the same season for the Cincinnati Reds.
That stat above is impressive enough, but tonight marked a new Major League record by Sonny Gray. He allowed 4 hits in the game. That makes it 32 consecutive starts where he allowed 6 or fewer hits in a game, breaking a record he was sharing with Nolan Ryan.
The win gave the Cincinnati Reds the season series over the Chicago Cubs.
Raisel Iglesias picked up his career best 32nd save of the season.
Pete Alonso hit his 48th home run of the year for the Mets tonight. That means that Eugenio Suarez has some catching up to do.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs
Wednesday September 18th, 8:05pm ET
Tyler Mahle (2-11, 5.11 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (13-10, 4.59 ERA)