A strong debut by Vladimir Gutierrez went to waste as the Chicago Cubs shutout the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 in the first game of their 3-game series on a windy day at Wrigley Field.
|Cincinnati Reds (22-27)
|Chicago Cubs (28-22)
|W: Alzolay (3-4) L: Gutierrez (0-1) SV: Kimbrel (12)
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Cincinnati threatened early as Nick Castellanos singled and moved to third base on a Tyler Stephenson 2-out double in the top of the 1st, but both runners were stranded. The next inning a Max Schrock walk and Jonathan India single set up the Reds with two runners on and just one out, but Vladimir Gutierrez struck out and Jesse Winker flew out to center to leave the ducks on the pond.
In the 3rd inning the Reds caught some bad luck. After Tyler Stephenson walked Tucker Barnhart doubled into right field and Stephenson appeared to score, but the ball had bounced into the stands and thus Stephenson had to return to third base where he would be stranded after a fly out by Kyle Farmer to end the inning.
The Reds had another 2-out rally brewing in the 6th when Max Schrock doubled and Jonathan India walked to put two more runners on. David Bell sent Shogo Akiyama to the plate as a pinch hitter for Vladimir Gutierrez with the hopes of tying up the game, or potentially taking the lead. The Cubs responded by making a pitching change to bring in a lefty. Bell then countered by sending Eugenio Suárez to the plate in place of Akiyama, but like before the Reds failed to come up with the hit when they needed it as he struck out to end the inning.
Another opportunity showed up in the 7th when Nick Castellanos and Tyler Naquin had 1-out singles, but a grounder to second base led to a tag of Naquin and an easy toss to first base to end the inning on a double play as the number of stranded runners climbed to a number beyond the set of fingers on Antonio Alfonseca’s hands.
After a strong showing from Vladimir Gutierrez in his debut and a quality set of appearances by the bullpen, the Reds had one last chance to scratch at least a run on the board in the top of the 9th to tie the game up. Craig Kimbrel took the mound to face 8-9-1 in the Cincinnati lineup. Jonathan India grounded out, pinch-hitter Mark Payton struck out, and Jesse Winker – the last beacon of hope – hit a dribbler back to the mound to end the game.
You never quite know what you are going to get in a pitchers Major League debut, but on Friday afternoon the Reds certainly had to like what they received from Vladimir Gutierrez. He allowed just two hits in 5.0 innings against the Cubs. A David Bote solo home run in the 5th inning was the only run against him as he walked two and struck out three while throwing just 67 pitches. Unfortunately the Reds offense wasn’t doing much, either, as the wind was blowing in hard off of the lake, leading to Gutierrez being pinch hit for with the hopes the team could cash in on some base runners despite a low pitch count. They didn’t.
Heath Hembree came out to pitch the 6th inning and after allowing a leadoff single to Kris Bryant he got a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play on Javier Báez to erase the runner. Another strikeout followed to keep the game at 1-0. He came back out to begin the 7th and struck out Willson Contreras before the game was handed over to Sean Doolittle in a lefty vs lefty match up with Rafael Ortega and it worked out well as Doolittle picked up a strikeout and followed up by inducing a pop up from David Bote to end the inning. The lefty returned to begin the 8th with the Cubs still holding onto a 1-0 lead and got two outs before walking Joc Pederson and being replaced by Brad Brach who came in to face Kris Bryant. Brach came out ahead on a looking third strike on the outside corner to give the offense one final chance to do something. They didn’t.
Notes Worth Noting
Joey Votto joined the Reds radio booth and began doing some play-by-play with Chris Welsh and Tommy Thrall. If you missed it, you really did miss it. It was fantastic.
Joey Votto on the mic. ?? pic.twitter.com/MdZh4d3YOC
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 28, 2021
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs
Saturday May 29th, 2:20pm ET
Luis Castillo (1-6, 7.71 ERA) vs Zach Davies (2-2, 4.96 ERA)