Jonathan India flexed his muscles, blasting two home runs to lead the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-5 win over the Chicago Cubs before 36,372 at Wrigley Field.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (23-29) 8 12 0
Chicago Cubs (22-29)
5 8 0
W: Farmer (1-3) L: M. Fulmer (0-4)  SV: Diaz (11)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Cincinnati trailed 4-1 after two innings but had their way the rest of the game. India had three hits total, five runs batted in and two runs scored. This was the third time in the past four games the Reds scored at least eight runs on double-digit hit totals. It was also the first time the Reds have strung consecutive wins together in quite awhile. Wins in the first two of the three-game series give the Reds the chance for a three-game sweep Sunday.

Cincinnati passed Chicago in the standings, moving into fourth place. First-place Milwaukee and second-place Pittsburgh both lost, leaving the Reds four games out of both first place in the National League Central and in the Wild Card race. St. Louis won in extra innings against Cleveland to maintain their percentage-point advantage over the Reds in third place.

To echo what Barry Larkin said prior to the final game of the recent St. Louis series, tomorrow’s game is very important. If your team is going to contend, settling for a series victory when you have the opportunity to sweep is not enough. As has been said many times, this division is truly wide-open. You’d have to consider St. Louis the odds-on favorite to right themselves and come out on top, but their starting pitching is not great, and the outfield we saw during this week’s series was not impressive whatsoever.

The Offense

Nick Senzel put the Reds on the board with a two-out, run-scoring single in the top of the second, tying the game at 1-1.

In the third, Jonathan India’s two-out single scored T.J. Friedl, who had doubled, to bring Cincinnati within 4-2. India was thrown out trying to extend the single to a double to end the inning.

Then in the top of the fifth, the Reds scored their third, fourth and fifth two-out runs of the game. Cubs starter Jameson Taillon walked Friedl with two out, and he stole second base. Matt McLain then looped a single over first base to score Friedl to bring the visitors within 4-3. Cubs Manager David Ross then brought in reliever Michael Fulmer, and India dropped one into the basket in right field for a homer and a 5-4 Reds lead.

Fulmer walked two of the first three batters in the sixth and was removed in favor of righthander Jeremiah Estrada, who then allowed ANOTHER two-out run-scoring single by Curt Casali to make it 6-4 Reds.

In the seventh, Cincinnati didn’t wait for two outs to score. McLain fought off numerous Estrada pitches, then lined a hit to left field. India immediately followed with a no-doubt bomb to left to make it 8-4. Righthander Julian Merryweather entered the game and allowed a broken-bat single to Jake Fraley, who then stole second. Fraley then stole third, but slid past the bag and was tagged out.

India’s three hits led the hit parade, complemented by McLain, Friedl and Stephenson with two hits apiece. McLain raised his batting average to .333 over his first 11 games.

The Pitching

Brandon Williamson gave up a run in the first inning on a triple by Dansby Swanson followed by a ground-rule double by Reds Ravager Ian Happ, then three more in the second on four hits. He held Chicago scoreless over the next 2 1/3 innings, but Manager David Bell removed him after he walked Seiya Suzuki, Williamson’s fourth free pass, in the bottom of the fifth. Buck Farmer then induced a double-play grounder from Trey Mancini to end that inning and pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

Ian Gibaut entered in the bottom of the seventh and allowed the first two batters to reach on a single and a walk. With one out, Fraley made a diving catch of a looper to right by Happ — turning that batted ball into a sacrifice fly out instead of a base hit. A Suzuki fly-out ended the inning.

Alex Young pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. Alexis Diaz allowed two base runners in the ninth, and of course who else but Happ would be up with two out and representing the tying run. Showing his dominance, Diaz struck out Happ swinging to end the game.

The Defense

Friedl turned a fly ball into a double play in the bottom of the sixth inning. With Christopher Morel on first base and one out, Patrick Wisdom hit a fly ball to center field.

Friedl briefly flailed his arms in an apparent signal that he had lost the ball, but he eventually caught it. Morel had gone back to first base to tag up, and apparently, he believed that Friedl had indeed lost the ball. Morel left first base early in an apparent event to advance to third on what he thought would be a fly ball that would fall. But Morel was tagged out at second, with the umpires ruling that he had left early from first. It wasn’t clear whether Friedl actually lost the ball or not, or if he was play-acting. We’ll probably find out in the aftermath of the game.

What’s News

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

Sunday, May 28, 2:20 p.m. ET

Graham Ashcraft (2-3, 5.57 ERA) vs. Drew Smyly (5-1, 2.93 ERA)

52 Responses

  1. Klugo

    I like our team and I think the hitting is just heating up. I just hope the pitching can hold up.

  2. Dewey Roberts

    I wonder what this team could be with some powerful bats to go along with what we have. If we just players at AAA who were playing lights out and major league ready. Hmmmm.

  3. Dennis Westrick

    Of course the stupid Cardinals won in extra innings! Nevertheless, a great comeback win by the Reds tonight!

    • David

      STUPID CARDINALS! (shakes fist at sky)

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Yes, my mistake. Thanks for catching that. I’ve fixed it.

      • Melvin

        No problem. You always do a great job. 🙂

  4. Indy Red Man

    This offense has a chance to be absolutely relentless! What if we also stole Happ and his .400+ obp away from the Cubs in the off-season? They could put up insane numbers

    • Mario

      Unfortunately, Happ signed a contract extension with the stupid Cubs

  5. Mark A Verticchio

    The question is when, if ever, do the Reds decide to treat their fans to a fun summer by bringing up EDLS and CES along with possibly Abbott and Hopkins. There is no guarantee what might happen if they bring them up but it definitely increases their chances.

    • jmb

      Aren’t you having fun? The team is playing really well! I like your passion, and it’s true that the NL Central is up for grabs, but the Reds organization has made all the right moves so far (besides signing Myers and trading away Moreta). They seem to know what they’re doing, even though so many fans have so little faith in them. Those four guys you mentioned will be keystones on this team very soon: Hopkins in left, CES at DH, EDLS at third, Abbot in the rotation–yes, that would improve this club. But, you can only put 9 players on the field at a time, and I’m sure the organization wants to see what they’ve got in Williamson, Fraley, Fairchild, Steer, and Senzel.

  6. Rednat

    signature win and series so far for the reds. Seems like the franchise may be turning the corner and headed into a more fruitful era.

    I am all for bringing up EDLC AND CES (and RObinson and Hopkins for that matter) but the organization has to make sure bringing them up doesn’t disrupt the team chemistry we have now. Also I would hope they have an actual plan for these guys when they do get here.

  7. wolfcycle

    Doug, is there any chance that ownership has an agreement with Bats to keep ELDC in Louisville for a certain amount of time to increase ticket sales? It would seem like no MLB team would do that if they thought a player was ready to improve their team, but, this is the Castalleni’s we are talking about. I have been in agreement with keeping him down longer than most on here, but, I think his bat and his speed will improve our offense in Cincy. Is it a matter of figuring out the dynamic of McClain, India, and him? It is just the conspiracy theorist in me.

    • Tom Reeves

      The earlier explanation is that the team doesn’t want to trigger Super 2 status or lose a year of eligibility for either of these players. The idea is to keep the winning window open as long as possible. But, both CES and EDLC are forcing the Reds’ hand on this decision – a very good problem to have.

      • Klugo

        So, what’s the date? When can they bring them up and still save a year of control?

      • Tom Diesman

        I read that mid June is typically when a player can be recalled to just avoid them attaining Super 2 status.

  8. LT

    It feels great to beat up on the Cubs anytime anywhere. Bring out the broom tomorrow. But to keep things in perspective Reds and Cubs have similar bad record. Can’t wait to see how they handle Boston next Tue. Hitting is contagious and as long as Indian and McLain rake, the rest of the team will follow. Will pitching hold up in beantown.

    • greenmtred

      Aye, there’s the rub. The bullpen has been pretty effective, but the starters are infrequently dominant.

  9. Votto4life

    The Reds now have a better record than the Cleveland Guardians. If they would add a couple pitchers, they could be in the thick of the race during the second half. I would be willing to part with Noelvi Marte if it could bring back a solid #3 major league ready pitcher with a few years of control.

    • wolfcycle

      I would be more willing to part with Arroyo and another lower tier prospect or 2 to get a good solid healthy #3 with multiple years of control. ELDC is an absolute stud, but there was a time Vic Robles was rated much higher than Juan Soto. I think Marte has a chance to be special. Not Soto special necessarily but power and average and very good 3rd base. Arroyo is going to be good as well, but where is he gonna play. We are running out of spots on the infield, hopefully, not for his sake, he will be blocked by quality play by marte, mcclain, and ELDC.

  10. wolfcycle

    with Indians having a tough season would they trade Bieber for a year and a half and how much prospect equity would just a year and a half cost? And, would that be long enough for us, considering we are not likely to sign him long term after 2024? If we had to give up a package like Seattle gave us for Castillo then I would be out for sure.

    • VaRedsFan

      I’m of the belief that they shouldn’t buckle on their rebuild by jettisoning these great prospects that they’ve accumulated, on the off chance the try to win a division.

      Pump the brakes a little, they aren’t even .500 yet.

      Unless you are acquiring a can’t miss pitching prospect, they should stand pat. Also, teams aren’t giving away young pitching.

  11. Jim t

    Hope Ashcraft can get back to the pitcher he was earlier in the season. Will need a good game to beat the cubs with Smyly pitching.

  12. RedsGettingBetter

    I really enjoyed Díaz strucking Reds killer Happ out to win the game. It seems this kind of moments involving Happ aren’t frequent…
    Today is another Reds’ offense challenge facing one of their nemesis as Smyly who, by the way, has a very solid numbers overall this season …and waiting for an Ashcraft’s rebound… Go Reds sweep!

  13. Oldtimer

    In early 1960s, Reds had a lot of potential star INF in minors. Eight made it to MLB.

    Tony Perez, Pete Rose, Tommy Helms, Leo Cardenas, Elio Chacon, Cesar Tovar, Cookie Rojas, Chico Ruiz among them.

    Perez was 2B but then 3B and finally 1B.

    Rose was 2B, 3B, OF, and finally 1B.

    Helms was SS and finally 2B (traded to Astros). Ruiz was 3B (traded to Angels).

    Cardenas SS (traded to Twins). Chacon 2B (Mets). Tovar 3B then 2B (Twins). Rojas 2B (Phillies then Royals).

    Same thing at 1B. AAA in 1963 Deron Johnson. In 1964 Tony Perez. In 1965 Lee May. All became Reds 1B.

    • Jim t

      @oldtimer, How I remember those days

      • Oldtimer

        Yep. Gabe Paul and Bill DeWitt built a good MiLB system. Phil Sigh deserves credit for it.

  14. Jim t

    Would love to see McLain given a few starts in outfield with EDLC called up at SS

    • VaRedsFan

      What’s discouraging is they didn’t even do this when Matt was at AAA.

    • MBS

      Trying to think like Bell, not me.

      DH India 3/9
      2B India 5/9 McLain 4/9
      SS EDLC 5/9 McLain 4/9
      3B Senzel 5/9 EDLC 4/9
      LF Senzel 3/9

      McLain and EDLC have been platooning like this the last 2 years, and Senzel is currently playing like this. The only difference from the norm is a 2 extra DH’s for India on a 9 game average, as he’s currently on 1 per 9.

  15. Jimbo44CN

    What happened to all those guys wanting to trade India “while he still has value” that were on this board recently? Hmm. Crickets

    • VaRedsFan

      I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
      It’s so hard to get to get a 1st round draft choice to excels.
      They strike gold with India, and he got R.O.Y.

      He’s pretty much the leader, and heart and soul of the team, and people want to jettison him for the next new shiny object.

      • redfanorbust

        Hi VRF. I was not one of the ones advocating a India trade but I think the thinking was because we have a log jam of infielders with apparent talent coming up to replace him we could get a decent haul of players we really need like pitching not just for a shiny new object.

    • old-school

      He is third in runs scored in the league and on pace for 120. He’s on pace for 175+ hits and 40+ double and 20 sb. He hits for average, gets on base, and has some pop. His slash line is remarkably similar to Castellano’s in Philly at a fraction of the cost.

      He is the leader of this team and is backing it up. Only way I trade him is if a franchise loaded with prospect capital goes for it at the deadline and makes an offer you cant refuse( Dbacks, Orioles, Rangers,etc)

      • greenmtred

        I agree. Besides putting up really good numbers, India appears to be be a crucial part of the team chemistry. Trading him could have unintended consequences.

    • jmb

      He’s having a solid year and was before the team started really hitting and before he was moved to the #3 slot. Though he’s benefited from both. I agree that he is the heart of this team–he and Fraley and Friedl, I’d say. The long hairs! They’re having fun out there, and never give up. But EDLC, CES, Hopkins, and Marte are coming! It’s a great problem to have, of course, but not all these players can be on the field at the same time. Those with weaker defense skills will have to grab some bench or should be traded…in the right deal.

    • Mario

      Hmmm. Not sure how many want India traded but I think that is what is going to happen. I would like to see him accept his fate and take over LF but I don’t think that is going to happen. We’re all trying to decipher the crystal ball at this point. I’ll all for keeping him. I said it before, India is the best player on the team.

      • MBS

        I think @ Mario has the right take on this. I don’t want India to be traded, but his excellent year is increasing the likelihood of it happening. Is it the right thing, who knows? Is it what I want to happen? No.

        I also agree that transitioning India to the OF, is the best way that the Reds can create their 24 roster. The LF vs RF decision would really come down to arm strength. Fraley and Friedl are fairly weak armed, and it’s hard to say what India’s arm is. He has the short throw, so he doesn’t need to put the same kinda zip on his recorded throws. He was a 3B, and his prospect rating had his arm at 55, so better than average.

    • wolfcycle

      I still think ultimately, given the right deal you move him and have mac at second, ELDC at short, and Marte at third. Steer and CES split time at first and DH. Stephenson and Caselli are your catchers, ( Luke is poor defensively and pitchers seem to do well when Curt is back there) Friedl, Fraley, and add a staple outfielder to your line up. Senzel would be super utility guy Fairchild would play against lefties. Then need to find an innings eater willing to pitch in the small park.

  16. JB

    As I said yesterday, I think this team has a chance at winning the division. Would it not be awesome if the Reds youngsters got Votto to the playoffs one last time and give him a great send-off ? Anything can happen in this division.

  17. Soto

    India seems to be the heart of the team. I would look to lock him up and as part of his new contract, give him an outfielder’s glove.

    • JB

      Why not 3B? It’s his natural position. I think Senzel is a great fit to platoon with Fraley. I also like that Bell is putting together a team of players that can play different positions and pretty decently.

      • Jim t

        @JB I really like Senzel’s glove at 3rd. McLain to the outfield makes the most sense with EDLC to SS. McLain has experience playing outfield and it wouldn’t be a tough transition.

        Also it appears the strength of our minor leagues is middle infielders. Moving one to the outfield is the right move. McLain having the experience and him not being our strongest defender at SS makes it a good move in my mind.

  18. Jim t

    The team is playing well offensively. Would still like to hit a few more home runs. Love the aggressive base running. Bell has done a great job motivating the team.

    Starting pitching is thin. Hopefully we will be buyers at the trade deadline and not sellers. Need to get Ashcraft and Lodolo back and effective. Weaver has been a bit of a surprise and Williamson has moments but we need more if we are going to contend in a very winnable division.

    Steer is becoming one of my favorites. He goes out and does his job. Not a lot of fanfare just contributes and goes about his business.

    • Rednat

      Yes. I have been quite impressed with Steers defense at first base as well

      • greenmtred

        Me, too. He seems to be a really solid ballplayer. McClain, too.

    • greenmtred

      Steer has a sense of humor, too. A lot of you guys don’t listen to Sadak, so you missed a good Steer story: when asked how he gets out of a slump, he said “I crush a large pizza. Might not help with the slump, but it makes me happy.”

  19. Melvin

    I don’t see how any Reds fan can’t like McLain. 🙂

  20. wolfcycle

    we have done a good job of getting scrappy ball players in the locker room. In turn they have been keeping the divas out.