The Cincinnati Reds pounded out 14 hits on the day, including four from Matt McLain, as the offense just beat up on Cubs pitching once again. Cincinnati’s hit parade led to an 8-5 win that completed a 3-game sweep in Chicago and moved the Reds into third place in the division.
|Cincinnati Reds (24-29)
|Chicago Cubs (22-30)
|W: Ashcraft (3-3) L: Smyly (5-2) SV: Diaz (12)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Stuart Fairchild got the offense rolling in the 2nd inning with a 1-out double. He followed up with a steal of third base before scoring on a Nick Senzel single that put the Reds up 1-0. Kevin Newman followed up with a single of his own and then moved to second on a wild pitch. That played big in the inning as Jake Fraley grounded out to second base on the next play, which could have been an inning-ending double play had Newman not advanced, but instead went as an RBI ground out that extended Cincinnati’s lead to 2-0.
The Cubs would start the bottom of the inning with a walk, but Graham Ashcraft got the next two batters out. Then Mike Tauchman singled to put runners on the corners. The third pitch of the next at-bat was a foul off of the knob of the bat of Patrick Wisdom that appeared to also hit him, but after it was fouled off. It might have been better if it had hit him first because three pitches later Wisdom hit a ball that nearly left Wrigley Field for a go-ahead 3-run homer.
Cincinnati’s top of the lineup went right back to work in the top of the 3rd. Jonathan India led off with a double down the left field line. Matt McLain followed up with the same thing and tied the game up. That was all the Reds would get in the inning that inexplicably ended when the #5 hitter in the lineup, Stuart Fairchild, bunted the ball to the pitcher.
In the top of the 5th inning Matt McLain picked up a 1-out single – his third hit of the day – and then when Drew Smyly attempted to pick him off at first, he broke for second and beat the relay throw to the bag for his first big league stolen base. Smyly then attempted to pick McLain off at second base and threw the ball into center and McLain advanced to third. After a pop up, Tyler Stephenson walked and that led to the Cubs making a pitching change to bring in Jeremiah Estrada. That led to Cincinnati calling on TJ Friedl to come on to pinch hit for Stuart Fairchild. The move paid off as Friedl doubled into right field to make it 4-3. Nick Senzel followed up with a 5-pitch walk to load the bases. A battle between Kevin Newman and Estrada ensued, with Newman coming out ahead and earning a walk on the 13th pitch of at-bat, bringing a run in to make it 5-3.
That led to another pitching change for the Cubs, who called on lefty Brandon Hughes to come in and face Jake Fraley. This time the move worked for Chicago as Fraley flew out to left to end the inning. It didn’t go as well in the top of the 6th for Hughes. He walked Jonathan India with one out and then gave up a 2-run home run to Spencer Steer as the Reds made it 7-3.
After five solid inning from Graham Ashcraft, the Reds brought in Lucas Sims for the bottom of the 6th innings with a 4-run lead. After a strikeout to start the inning, Sims ran into trouble with a walk to Trey Mancini and then giving up an infield single to Mike Tauchman that put two runners on. Sims then walked Patrick Wisdom to load the bases and bring Yan Gomes to the plate, but not before pitching coach Derek Johnson made his way to the mound for a quick talk. It took seven pitches, but Sims got Gomes to pop up to Kevin Newman. Nico Hoerner grounded out to end the inning as Sims got out of the jam to hold onto a 4-run lead.
The Reds got back to work against the Cubs bullpen. TJ Friedl led off with a double against new reliever Michael Rucker and then Nick Senzel drove him in with a double to the wall in left center that made it 8-3. When the bottom of the inning came around it was Ian Gibaut taking over on the mound for Cincinnati and he retired the side in order.
Things didn’t go as well for Kevin Herget when he took over in the 8th. Trey Mancini crushed a 1-out double and then scored when Patrick Wisdom hit his second home run of the day, cutting the Reds lead to 8-5. Herget would get a strikeout to end the inning and send the game to the 9th.
After Cincinnati failed to score in their half of the inning, Alexis Diaz entered the game to try and pick up the save and complete a sweep. He had to work around an infield singly be Dansby Swanson, but he struck out the other three batters of the inning to seal the win, the series sweep, and put the Reds into third place in the National League Central.
Key Moment of the Game
Spencer Steer’s 2-run home run in the 6th inning that essentially put the game away.
Notes Worth Noting
A big day for Matt McLain as he racked up four hits. He’s now hitting .380/.456/.600 since being called up two weeks ago.
Alexis Diaz now has 12 saves in 12 opportunities. He’s struck out 40 batters on the season in 20.2 innings and lowered his ERA to 1.74.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Boston Red Sox
Tuesday May 30th, 7:10pm ET
Ben Lively (2-2, 2.65 ERA) vs Brayan Bello (3-2, 4.08 ERA)