The Cincinnati Reds needed a win to remain in first place and they couldn’t get it done. The Chicago Cubs picked up their third win in a row over Cincinnati, taking the series and sending the Reds to second place in the National League’s Central division.
|Cincinnati Reds (59-52)||3||8||0|
|Chicago Cubs (56-53)
|W: Taillon (6-6) L: Weaver (2-4) SV:Alzolay (13)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Elly De La Cruz led off the game with a 424-foot home run on the first pitch of the night. That lead didn’t last long as the Cubs got back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the 1st off of Luke Weaver to tie things up at 1-1.
Cincinnati was threatening to take the lead in the top of the 2nd. Christian Encarnacion-Strand picked up a 1-out single and moved to third on a Will Benson double. Elly De La Cruz walked with two outs to load the bases. That sent the Cubs pitching coach to the mound for a visit with Jameson Taillon and whatever he said seemed to work as he got a ground out to strand the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning the Cubs did their own bit of threatening to take the lead. Nick Madrigal flew out to start the inning and Mike Tauchman struck out to follow. Nico Hoener then struck out, but strike three was a wild pitch and Hoerner raced to first after the ball hit the dirt and then the glove of catcher Luke Maile and bounced over everyone behind the plate. With the inning extended, Chicago took advantage of things. Ian Happ walked on four pitches and then Cody Bellinger singled in the go-ahead run. Dansby Swanson then drew a walk to load the bases. After getting ahead of Christopher Morel 0-2, Weaver threw four straight balls to walk in a run. It took Jeimer Candelario five pitches, but he also walked and it was 4-1 Cubs.
Following the walk, David Bell began to argue balls and strikes with the home plate umpire and was ejected from the game. Weaver rebounded to strike out Yan Gomes to end the inning, but Chicago made him throw 41 pitches in the inning. That put him at 80 on the day. Probably not the best thing for a team with a bullpen that is running on the fumes of the fumes.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Will Benson had back-to-back singles to lead off the top of the 4th to put runners on the corners. Encarnacion-Strand scored when Luke Maile grounded into a double play, but that would be the end of runs for Cincinnati in the frame as they cut the lead to 4-2.
Luke Weaver came back out for the bottom of the 4th inning and gave up a leadoff single that probably could have been ruled an error as the ball hit off of Will Benson’s glove. That was the end of the night for Weaver as the Reds went to newcomer Sam Moll. He immediately gave up a double off the wall, but TJ Friedl barehanded the ball and fired to Elly De La Cruz who fired it home to beat Nick Madrigal by 10 feet to record the out. Moll would then get a fly out and a strikeout of Ian Happ to end the inning.
Cincinnati would put some pressure on the Cubs in the top of the 6th when Spencer Steer led off with a ground-rule double. Christian Encarnacion-Strand was hit by a pitch with one out, putting the tying run on base. But both guys would be stranded after a strikeout and a ground out ended the frame.
The offense went quiet for a bit after that, but in the top of the 8th inning Spencer Steer cracked a solo home run to cut the Cubs lead to one run. Chicago got the run back in the bottom of the inning. Fernando Cruz took over for Ian Gibaut to begin the inning and gave up a double to Dansby Swanson to start the inning. He’d move to third on a single and then score on a sacrifice fly from Yan Gomes.
Cincinnati entered the 9th inning needing at least two runs to keep the game alive. Will Benson and Luke Maile both struck out to start things off, leaving the game up to Elly De La Cruz. He lined out to first base to end the game. The loss dropped the Reds to second place after the Brewers picked up a win earlier in the evening.
Key Moment of the Game
Luke Weaver’s strikeout of Nico Hoerner in the 3rd inning that bounced over catcher Luke Maile and kept the inning alive on what should have been the final out. Chicago scored three runs after that to take a 4-1 lead.
Notes Worth Noting
Luke Weaver’s ERA is 6.98 after he allowed four runs in 3.0 innings tonight.
Jake Fraley stole his team leading 20th base in the game.
David Bell has been ejected 26 times in his managerial career. He has been a manager for 5 seasons.
Dusty Baker has been ejected 26 times in his managerial career. He has been a manager for 26 seasons.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) August 4, 2023
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals vs Cincinnati Reds
Friday August 4th, 6:40pm ET
Graham Ashcraft (6-7, 5.31 ERA) vs Patrick Corbin (7-11, 5.07 ERA)