The Cincinnati Reds and Ben Lively would like a do-over on Tuesday night’s game. The right-handed pitcher had to take one for the team on a night when he simply didn’t have it, and was charged with 13 runs on 13 hits – including four home runs – in the first four innings of the game. Cincinnati couldn’t make a come back on that one despite eventually scoring enough runs to win most games.
|Cincinnati Reds (59-50)||9||13||2|
|Chicago Cubs (54-53)
|W: Steele (12-3) L: Lively (4-7)|
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After the Reds offense went down in order on nine pitches, the Chicago Cubs offense went to work in their half of the 1st inning. Back-to-back singles put runners on the corners. Nico Hoerner then stole second base and Tyler Stephenson’s throw was air mailed into center and Mike Tauchman trotted to the plate to make it 1-0. Ben Lively then followed up by walking Ian Happ. Cody Bellinger then singled back up the middle and Hoerner scored to make it 2-0. That brought pitching coach Derek Johnson to the mound for a quick chat with his battery.
The chat didn’t work. Dansby Swanson hit a 3-run homer into the basket in right field. That made it 5-0 and Cincinnati still hadn’t recorded an out. New Cub Jeimer Candelario followed up with a single before Christopher Morel finally made the first Chicago out of the night on a pop up to Elly De La Cruz at third base. Nick Madrigal followed up with a single to right field. Tucker Barnhart came to the plate as the 9th hitter of the inning and he would mercifully ground into a double play to end the inning on Lively’s 35th pitch of the inning.
Cincinnati has come from behind plenty of times in 2023 and they weren’t going to just let this one go without a fight. Spencer Steer led off the 2nd inning with a double and moved up to second on a wild pitch. He would then score on a second wild pitch. Tyler Stephenson would single with two outs, and then he moved up to second base on the third wild pitch of the inning. He would then score when Jeimer Candelario couldn’t come up with a grounder hit by TJ Friedl and the Reds cut the deficit to 5-2.
Ben Lively came back out for the 2nd inning and walked Mike Tauchman to start things off. He would then steal second base and move up to third when for the second time in the game, Tyler Stephenson’s throw went into center. Lively got a ground out and then he struck out Ian Happ, but Cody Bellinger hit a 2-out, 2-run homer to extend the Cubs lead 7-2.
The Cubs weren’t finished. They would tack on three more runs in the 3rd inning on a 2-out, 3-run homer by Mike Tauchman. In the 4th inning it was Dansby Swanson slugging his second homer of the day – a run shot – that put the Cubs up 12-2. Jeimer Candelario and Nick Madrigal would both double later in the inning and make it 13-2.
Cincinnati would get a run back in the top of the 5th when Nick Senzel singled with two outs and then scored when Matt McLain doubled him in. Derek Law took over for the Reds when the bottom of the 5th began, ending the night for Ben Lively. He had to work around two walks but he tossed a shutout inning – the first of the night for Cincinnati.
Kevin Newman doubled to lead off the 6th inning and he came around to score when Tyler Stephenson homered into the bleachers in left field. New Reds reliever Sam Moll took over for the bottom of the 6th inning and worked around a leadoff single for a second straight scoreless inning from Cincinnati’s pitchers. He returned for the 7th and got the first out of the inning before being replaced by Fernando Cruz, who gave up the 5th homer of the day to the Cubs when Nico Hoerner crushed a 1-out solo shot to make it 14-5. Ian Happ followed with a double before Cody Bellinger flew out. The Cubs opted for a pinch hitter in Patrick Wisdom for Dansby Swanson, so the Reds opted to call on catcher Luke Maile to enter the game to pitch in the blowout.
That series of moves paid off for one team…. and it was the Cubs, who saw Patrick Wisdom hit the clubs 6th homer of the game and extent their lead to 16-5. Maile would get a fly out to end the inning. He, like Lively, would take one for the team and get beat around in the 8th, too, giving up four more runs – including a 7th Chicago home run – as the Cubs took a 20-5 lead.
In the top of the 9th the Reds tried to put together a little rally when Elly De La Cruz singled with two outs and Nick Senzel walked. That brought Matt McLain to the plate and he came through with an RBI single to make it 20-6. Spencer Steer followed up with an RBI double to plate Senzel and cut the deficit to 13. Kevin Newman then drew a walk to load the bases for Christian Encarnacion-Strand. The rookie infielder came through with a single to plate two more runs and make it 20-9. That would be the end of the rally for the Reds, though, as Tyler Stephenson flew out to end the game.
Key Moment of the Game
Cody Bellinger’s 2-run homer in the 2nd inning that erased the two runs that Cincinnati had scored in the top of the frame and erased any idea of a comeback.
Notes Worth Noting
From the Reds via @EliasSports : The last Reds pitcher to allow 13+ runs in a game was Charles “King” Lear (13 R in 8.0 IP) on 7/24/1915 at Philadelphia.
— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) August 2, 2023
Hunter Greene threw 2.0 shutout innings with one hit, no walks, and three strikeouts in Arizona for the complex level team in the minor leagues in his first rehab outing. Vladimir Gutierrez threw a perfect inning of relief with a strikeout in the inning that followed.
The Brewers won, shrinking Cincinnati’s lead in the division to a half-game.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs
Wednesday August 2nd, 8:05pm ET
Brandon Williamson (3-2, 4.48 ERA) vs Drew Smyly (8-7, 4.50 ERA)