A comeback win fueled by home runs by Joey Votto and Tyler Naquin as well as a go-ahead RBI hit from Eugenio Suárez was backed up by a strong start from Tyler Mahle and a good showing from the bullpen. Cincinnati jumped ahead of the Cubs in the division and now the Reds are in second place behind the Brewers.

Final R H E
Chicago Cubs (42-41)
2 7 0
Cincinnati Reds (42-40) 3 5 1
W: Hendrix (4-1) L: Alzolay (4-8) SV: Hembree (3)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

Cincinnati wasn’t getting much through the first three innings of the game against Adbert Alzolay. But with two outs in the 4th inning, Joey Votto unloaded on a 417-foot solo homer to cut the Cubs lead to 2-1. Leading off the 5th it was Tyler Naquin’s turn to do some unloading of his own and he deposited a solo blast way up the seats in right field, 425 feet from home plate, to tie the game up at 2-2.

After a quiet 6th inning the Reds got things going in the 7th. Joey Votto drew a walk to lead things off and then moved up to third on Tyler Stephenson’s double that followed. Eugenio Suárez would single in Votto to put Cincinnati ahead 3-2. That’s where the rally ended, though, as a ground ball double play ended the remaining threat. Jesse Winker would draw a walk in the 8th, but he was stranded as the Reds clung to a 3-2 lead and headed to the top of the 9th hoping to seal the win.

The Pitching

It wasn’t an easy day for Tyler Mahle. IN the first inning he loaded the bases after getting the first two batters of the game out, but he struck Jason Heyward out after reaching a full count to wiggle out of the jam. It wasn’t as easy in the 2nd after Rafael Ortega doubled with one out. He would move up on a ground out and then score on a passed ball – making the run unearned. The next inning was lef off by a first pitch home run by Kris Bryant to extend the Cubs lead to 2-0. Mahle settled in from there and finished with those two runs allowed in 5.0 innings with seven strikeouts before turning the game over to the bullpen in a tie game.

Sean Doolittle came on for the 6th inning and threw 18 pitches while striking out two of the three batters he faced as he kept the game tied up. Ryan Hendrix took over in the 7th and like Doolittle he took care of business, but he needed a little help after putting runners on the corners with one out. Joey Votto to the rescue:

Can you say fired up?

Ryan Hendrix returned for the start of the 8th with a newfound 3-2 lead and got Willson Contreras to ground out before the game was handed over to Josh Osich. He struck out both Jake Marisnick and Ian Happ to end the inning and kept Cincinnati on top.

Heath Hembree took the mound to begin the 9th with 8-9-1 due up for the Cubs. He got a little help from the umpire on a full count as he rung up Patrick Wisdom on strike three that was outside of the zone. Eric Sogard didn’t wait for the umpire to decide his fate and grounded a ball one back up the middle off of Hembree for an infield single. Joc Pederson didn’t let the umpire decide his fate, either, and struck out swinging for the second out. Kris Bryant came to the plate representing the Cubs final hope. Never have hope, kids, because it’ll let you down. Bryant popped up into foul territory to Joey Votto and the game ended with a 3-2 win, a series win, and the Reds climbing into second place in the National League Central division.

Notes Worth Noting

The Cubs are in third place.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds

Sunday July 4th, 1:10pm ET

Kyle Hendricks (10-4, 3.98 ERA) vs Wade Miley (6-4, 2.82 ERA)

60 Responses

  1. Slicc50

    Man, I really like this team! They have talent, are very fun to watch. It’s a shame ownership didn’t give them a little help in the off-season. I feel like they are a pitcher and a shortstop away from really being a problem for everyone else!

    • Hotto4Votto

      Agree. They’re a fun mix of young up and coming players and savvy veterans. Love seeing the energy of Old Man Votto and the exuberance of guys like India and Stephenson.

      It’s a shame that ownership didn’t see that. After years of futilely rebuilding to finally put a competitive team on the field in 2020 and sneak into the playoffs, they did nothing to help that team improve. In fact they actively took away (or let walk away) useful pieces of the team without replacing them. Think of where this team could be with a decent bullpen, a ML level SS, or a competent owner that actually wanted to win.

      • RedAlert

        He needs to sell the team !!!!!! Fireworks and noble heads are more important than the product on the field .

  2. Melvin

    Big win. Getting to second by yourself makes it easier to go after first.

  3. Old-school

    Reds sending a message to cards and cubs . Beat the NL central and they are doing that
    Go reds

  4. JB

    Hope the Fans bring big brooms tomorrow and sweep them stupid Cub fans right out of the stadium.

  5. oklared

    Man I will just say it one more time this team real needs to trade Albatross Votto contract. (SARCASM)

  6. Frankie Tomatoes

    What an atmosphere today at the ballyard! Lots of Cubby fans here but we drowned them out for most of the game and hopefully can do the same tomorrow!

    • TR

      Money spent by Cubby fans is welcome in Cincy.

  7. PiernaRojaScott

    5 runs on 9 hits in two games. Hmm. We face their best tomorrow. Good thing our pitching held up. Go Reds.

  8. oklared

    I really like TS potential but we really need TB still to be rock behind the plate. He is doing better on offense since going lefty only.

    • VaRedsFan

      Agree…need 2 catchers these days. They always have the chance to get dinged up. Tucker can continue to teach TS the defensive side.

    • RojoB

      Tyler Stephenson set the table for Suárez’s heroics.

      He’s not Tucker on defense, but besides Castellanos and India, he is one of the few hitters that goes with a pitch to make something good happen for his team.

      Let’s keep him

      • oklared

        Definitely keep just feel people over looking TB’s ability to contribute and help TS develop into catcher we hope for. His offense plays right now I think.

  9. RedsMonk65

    Anyone noticed? We’re winning 1-run games this year–at least recently. Good sign. Remember we were on the other end of that equation not so long ago?

    • Slicc50

      Yes, they just mentioned the Reds are 14-9 in one run games. What a big change that is from the last couple seasons.

      • RojoB

        Since those years it was blamed on bad luck (instead of talent and managing) does that mean this season we aren’t supposed to think the Reds or the manger are better, but rather just having good luck?

        What’s sauce for the goose…

      • RedsMonk65

        Whatever it is — I’ll take it!

  10. LDS

    Now if only the Pirates could come back in the bottom of the 9th

  11. VaRedsFan

    Can’t say enough about how clutch this bullpen has been.

    It’s amazing how much smarter Bell looks when people do their jobs.

    • MBS

      Right, that’s been the missing part all year. If these guys have it together now, Look Out!

    • RojoB

      What’s with them mentally that they don’t do this when Antone and Sims are healthy?

      If they could keep it locked down like this even when (if?) those guys return…could get very interesting

      • RedsMonk65

        To be fair, many of the early members of the pen are gone now — Romano, Fulmer, Bedrosian…. Much different makeup now, especially with guys like Brach, who was signed in early May.

      • David

        Mike Lorenzen could also be back after the All Star Game break.

        So, what if the bullpen is actually pretty good the rest of the year?

        They have seven games wrapped around the ASB with Milwaukee; they have to do better than 4/3 or 3/4.

  12. RedsMonk65

    JV latest line: .258 .338 .479 .817

    Also some pretty wicked defense today. Nice to see.

    • RojoB

      Man was he fired up after that DP!

      “Dear Michael Smith and Manfred,

      I hope it was ok that Joseph Daniel flexed after that play. It was not towards another player, but it may have served to excite his teammates and make the Reds a dangerous team—you know like the first week of the season after Nick Legend flexed?

      Anyway, if you’re not sure whether or not it merits suspension, I have no doubt that you will consult with St. Yadier Molina for a judgement.

      Sincerely yours,

      A big Bronx cheer from all Reds fans”

  13. Mark Moore

    I was out and following periodically. What a treat to see the win. Time to kick the Stupid Cubs while they are down.

    I’m thinking Bryant won’t be a Cub very long.

  14. RedsMonk65

    Nice work by the bullpen (again), some key defensive plays, and some clutch hitting when it absolutely mattered. This team CAN be dangerous ….

  15. Dennis Westrick

    With all due respect Doug, I would not describe Mahle’s performance today as a “strong” start! Four (4) walks and a HBP with 100+ pitches in only 5 innings has plenty of room for improvement!

    • RojoB

      Mahle has had trouble staying out of his own way for sure.

      But he only gave up two runs for whatever that was worth—oh yeah it was worth a win!

      But seriously, count me as one that’s had mixed feelings on Mahle this season. He is smart—but he doesn’t use that to play chess with batters to get them guessing, leaning, and making weak contact. He seems enamored of the finesse strikeouts and it kills his walk rate. I expected a more cerebral approach

    • RedsMonk65

      Yes, he was not the sharpest, especially early on. But still, he only allowed one run. The mark of a good pitcher is hanging tough even when not on top of one’s game. Mahle has sold me on that count.

      • RojoB

        I agree he’s tough mentally and a battler.

        I wish he didn’t make it so hard on himself.

      • RedsMonk65

        Someone mentioned, on the game thread I think, that he seems to take a different approach at GABP — like’s he’s self-conscious about the “confines” of the park, compared to when he is pitching on the road. May be something to that.

      • oklared

        I think Tyler is still maturing as a pitcher this is his 3rd season basically and he has improved every year. He just needs to continue to become more confident which will hopefully lead to less nibbling when up in count.

      • Tom Reeves

        Mahle didn’t have his best stuff, nor did he have any sticky stuff. Yet, he still battled and made it 5 innings of 1 run baseball against the (formerly) second place Cubs. Let’s be happy he gave his team a chance to win today.

    • LT

      Agree. Very frustrating with Mahle. It seems he has the pitches to jump up to the next tier but for whatever reason he has not, still mediocre at best.

  16. LT

    The middle of the line up is hot. Need the top of the line up to heat back up tomorrow. It seems the offense provides strong run support when Miley on the mound. Hope for a sweep tomorrow.

    • Mark Moore

      Have to think Jesse breaks out of his slump. And he’s still way better than previous years. India is still learning and adjusting. He’s definitely playing at MLB level and I look forward to seeing him at 2B for many years.

  17. Mark Moore

    Just saw over on MLBTR that the Stupid Cubs signed Tony Cingrani (minor league contract) and that the Halos DFA’s our old friend Scott Schebler.

    • Jim Walker

      That was a short MLB run with the Angels for Schebler. I swear I saw at early to mid week somebody else had been DFA to open a MLB spot for him.

      I’d guess if he clears waivers, he will be right back where he was before. One thing the Reds don’t need right now is a LH outfield bat.

  18. Indy Red Man

    The Reds could pull within 5.5 of SD for the last wildcard? I never root for injuries except for Tom Brady, but if something happened to Tatis then the Reds could be a player in the wildcard.

    • Jim Walker

      Yep. Those 2 games given back to the Padres by the Reds hurt a little more right now. Still they are absolutely in the wildcard race now.

      From August 1 through the end of the season, the Padres and Dodgers play 9 times, the Padres and Giants play 10 times and the Dodgers and Giants play 3 times. The Padres are going to be in legitimate jeopardy of falling out of the divisional race or wild card unless they play very well in which case they could knock the Dodgers or Giants out.

    • Scott Cleaves

      Seriously? You’re “slightly” hoping Tatis gets injured to help the Reds chances? How about they just earn it instead?

      • Indy Red Man

        I said I never root for injury, but that they could pass them with an injury. Earning it over SD? I think 1-6 proves who the better team is unfortunately

  19. Redsfan4life

    Votto OPS over .800 Higher than Rizzo and Goldschmidt. So happy that he is having a fine season.

  20. Reddawg2012

    I have so much to say about this game. But the bottom line is….Joey Votto is my hero.

  21. Gonzo Reds

    If MLB had the extra wildcard this year we’d be in that spot with 6 teams within 2 games. MLB missing out on all the potential second half excitement. As it is now all the NL playoff spots are locked up already and we’re not even at the break yet!

  22. Old-school

    Reds just need to beat the Cubs again and separate from the Cubs and Cards so the focus becomes the Brewers after the All Star break. Cubs lost 8 straight, Kris Bryant has 1 foot out the door and team has to feel deflated seeing Kyle Schwarber with 25 HR and Yu Darvish with the Padres winning.

    Cards are 11-19 since June and in free fall. The Reds 4 game sweep started things and they’ve lost 2/2 @ Detroit, 3/4 @ Pittsburgh and currently have guaranteed no better then a split @ Colorado. They have 6 more on the road @ Giants and Cubs and are 2 under .500 and 10 games back.

    Have to think the Reds get another 40000 in attendance today. Roughly, that would put the attendance for the 11 game home stand at nearly 300,000 .

    Trevor Story turning it on with big home run against the Cards last night and great tagout @ SS. The A’s are the only contender in need of a SS so the Reds would only need to give the Rockies something better than they would get from a top 35 or so pick from the QO. Have Castellanos and Winker pick up Story in Denver at the ASG and bring him back to Cincy to play SS the 2nd half of the season. Now that line up would sell tickets @ GABP in July and August and crush lefties.

    • LDS

      I’d still bet all it would take us Suarez and Castellini’s money. Been a fan of th3 idea for weeks

    • Nick in NKY

      After being initially resistant to the idea, I’m now fully on the “trade for Story” bandwagon. There’s a lot of upside to the idea, and it shouldn’t be too expensive at this point.

  23. greenmtred

    They sure are a fun team to watch, and it seems possible that it’s sustainable. Votto is really fired up, India and Stevenson are getting better and better, and the bullpen is doing the job (fingers crossed). My one negative thought: why don’t other teams throw Castellanos a steady diet of low and outside breaking stuff? He seems unable to lay off it.

    • Old-school

      The Padres walked him intentionally twice and Stephenson made them pay. Reds lineup may have something to do with it. Castellanos frequently has a runner already on in India or Winker and is followed by Votto/Naquin/Stephenson frequently. Castellanos will figure out if a pitcher or team is not going to challenge him and the fear of a big inning at GABP with base runners on all the time is something opposing teams want to avoid.

      Reds have (7)…. count-’em …. (7) regular hitters with wRC+ above 100. India/Winker/Castellanos/Votto/Naquin/Stephenson/Barnhart

      That’s a deep lineup. If Suarez could somehow turn that around and get a hitting SS- that’s an elite lineup.

  24. Eddiek957

    If my math skills have not faded in my advanced years, the Reds bullpen has allowed three earned runs in the last twenty and two thirds innings. Hopefully we have the right mix and Michael, Antone, and Hoffman can come back strong after the ASB to add to the recent success