The Cubs and the Reds were scoreless until the 7th inning when Jeimer Candelario hit a solo home run. Chicago held onto that 1-0 lead behind a stellar 8-inning performance from Javier Assad, but when the Cubs brought Mark Leiter Jr. into the game for the 9th it was the spark that Cincinnati needed. The home team rallied and score two runs to walk off the Cubs and pick up their second win in a row over Chicago.

Final R H E
Chicago Cubs (72-64)
1 5 0
Cincinnati Reds (71-67)
2 9 2
W: Moll (1-3) L: Leiter Jr. (1-3)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Cincinnati Reds didn’t have the best showing in the first two innings on the bases. Spencer Steer and Elly De La Cruz both had a single erased when they were picked off at first. In the 3rd inning Christian Encarnacion-Strand led off with a double and Noelvi Marte singled on a grounder to third, but the runner couldn’t advance on the play. That turned out to be important as Luke Maile grounded into a double play before Jake Fraley struck out to end the inning and strand a runner at third base.

Chicago tried to get something going in the top of the 4th when they got back-to-back 2-out singles from Seiya Suzuki and Yan Gomes that put runners on the corners. Andrew Abbott locked in and struck out Jeimer Candelario to end inning and keep the game scoreless.

The Reds would threaten again in the bottom of the 4th when Spencer Steer singled and moved to third on a double from Elly De La Cruz. Nick Martini followed with a line drive but it was caught by a leaping Dansby Swanson to save at least one run. Hunter Renfroe would ground out to end the inning as the Reds couldn’t come through with the big hit once again.

Neither team would get much going again until the bottom of the 6th inning when Jake Fraley led off with a single and TJ Friedl followed up with a walk. Spencer Steer then hit a shallow fly into right field and second baseman Nico Hoerner caught the ball over his shoulder and was able to double off Fraley, who for some reason was way off of the bag on the play. With Elly De La Cruz at the plate TJ Friedl was caught stealing to end the inning.

Andrew Abbott returned for the top of the 7th and picked up a ground out to begin the inning. But Jeimer Candelario followed with a solo homer to put the Cubs ahead 1-0. That was the final batter he saw before Buck Farmer entered the game and retired the final two batters of the inning.

Tejay Antone took over in the 8th, marking his first big league appearance in just over two years after having his second Tommy John surgery. He allowed a leadoff single, but got Dansby Swanson to ground into a double play before striking out Ian Happ in his return to the mound.

Sam Moll took over for Antone in the top of the 9th. He would walk Seiya Suzuki with one out. He got a grounder from Yan Gomes to second base where Spencer Steer fielded it and threw to Elly De La Cruz at the bag, but the throw clanked off of his glove and both runners were safe. Moll locked in and got back-to-back ground outs to strand both runners.

Trailing 1-0, the Reds entered the bottom of the 9th with the top of the order due up and the Cubs replaced Javier Assad after eight shutout innings with Mark Leiter Jr. Jake Fraley battled before hitting a double that bounced off of the warning track in right and off of the wall. He was then pinch run for by Harrison Bader, who then stole third base with TJ Friedl at the plate. Friedl would walk on five pitches to bring Spencer Steer to the plate. He was then hit by the second pitch of the at-bat to load the bases for Elly De La Cruz and he came through with a line drive, game-tying single into right field. Nick Martini followed with a pop up for the first out.

The Cubs then went to the bullpen and called Jose Cuas to the mound to face Hunter Renfroe. Cuas got what he was looking for – a hard ground ball – and Dansby Swanson made a diving stop on it, fired to second to get a force out of De La Cruz, but the relay throw to first base was a half-second too late as Renfroe beat it out to end the game as TJ Friedl scored and gave Cincinnati a 2-1 come from behind victory.

Key Moment of the Game

The Cubs taking Javier Assad out of the game with 98 pitches after eight shutout innings. A new pitcher on the mound for the 9th, Mark Leiter Jr. loaded the bases with no outs and gave the Reds all of the confidence they needed that they could get the job done.

Notes worth noting

Jake Fraley is 5-9 with three doubles since returning from the injured list.

Elly De La Cruz had been 4-36 in his previous nine games before picking up three hits on Friday night – including the game tying hit in the bottom of the 9th.

Tejay Antone went 739 days between big league appearances on August 24th, 2021 and Saturday night against Chicago.

Andrew Abbott rebounded from a string of tough starts with 6.1 innings of 1-run baseball.

The win guarantees a series split for the Reds with a chance to win it outright on Sunday afternoon. Cincinnati’s victory pulls them within two games of the Cubs for second place in the division. They are a half-game behind Arizona and San Francisco for the final wild card spot, but both of those teams are still playing games.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds

Sunday September 3rd, 12:10pm ET

Carson Spiers (MLB debut) vs Jameson Taillon (7-9, 5.62ERA)

69 Responses

  1. LarkinPhillips

    2 super improbable wins in a row, but I will happily eat crow from my prediction of being lucky to go 1-3 verse the cubs. Loved to see the fight today, hated to see the bad fundamentals. Luckily we were able to over come them. Fraley has returned and been a major help.

    • Mario

      Awful fundamentals. 5 outs on the bases when the hitters are struggling so bad. Yikes. But a heckuva win.

  2. Klugo

    Sheesh, JR House got lucky. No outs, gotta send the runner for the win and make the defense make a play. Worst thing to happen would be 1st and 3rd with one out.

    • VaRedsFan

      I have to agree with the decision to hold him.
      With 2 outs you send him.
      With no outs, no way. it was a screaming 1 hopper to RF.
      The bad throw home doesn’t change my mind.

      • J

        With a different team, maybe, but this is a team that can’t get guys home in those situations. In fact, what happened? Martini popped up, and Renfroe came within an eyelash of a double play. I like Friedl’s chances of scoring there, and worst case scenario is you’re going to have second and third and one out. They’d probably have walked Martini and set up exactly the same scenario the Reds ended up with.

    • J

      It almost certainly would have been 2nd and 3rd. If the throw goes home, Elly is almost certainly taking second. So you’re still in great shape even if Friedl is out. He sent CES a few days ago when it made no sense to take a risk, and doesn’t send Friedl when it absolutely made sense to take a risk. His judgment seems to be quite questionable — to put it nicely.

    • Rob

      Think you are right. A legitimate chance to win the game right there. Don’t know how you can not attempt that. Yes the ball was hit very hard and yes he could have been out with an excellent throw but Friedl is fast and I think you have to take that shot with no outs.

    • RedBB

      Accurate throw though and Friedl is dead. It was the right decision with no one out. 2 outs sure you send him.

  3. Redsvol

    Congratulations to tejay antone. Long, long road to come back. And he pitched well!

    Very well pitched game. Abbott is amazing. Offense needs to take more advantage of the opportunities they are given.

    What are we looking at for a rotation? Kennedy, spiers and Phillips for next 3 games?

    • JB WV

      Great job mentioning TJ. After they led off with a single i thought Oh no. But he finished well.

    • Doug Gray

      Spiers was announced as tomorrow’s starter. So I’d guess Kennedy for Monday then Phillips on Tuesday. Not sure for Wednesday.

      • Jeremiah

        Wow it will be amazing if they win some of these games coming up! Phillips with what I read of his walks recently actually would concern me the most. Spiers what an opportunity for him. Well just have to take it one day at a time, Bell will have to use some wisdom with the bullpen, hopefully Luke Maile doesn’t have to be used though!

      • RedBB

        When are the Covid pitchers eligible to come off the Covid IL? Isn’t it 10 games since last played?

      • Doug Gray

        I believe that it is 7 days if all is clear.

    • RedBB

      If we can win 1 of the next 3 games I’ll take it. 1 of 4 wouldn’t be terrible either to be honest and 2 of 4 would be amazing. By then I think some of those starters will come off the Covid IL

  4. David

    Re assuring that Andrew Abbott pitched pretty well today.

    I still think his arm is fatigued, and next time out, he may be “mediocre” again. Did not follow the game, but his velocity on his fastball had been incrementally dropping.

    And TJ Antone pitched today. That’s really great news.

    • Mario

      I hate them leaving him in so long. 5 innings should have been his limit.

      • jmb

        Unfortunately, they’re running this team like teenagers–rolling the dice and keeping their fingers crossed–instead of trading for (or claiming) a starter or two to give the rotation a boost for the stretch and playoffs. And this is exactly how young arms get ruined!

  5. RedlegScott

    Gotta find some consistent offense. Glad Fraley’s back.

  6. Jeremiah

    Bullpen great the last two games, bullpen overall this year has been a nice surprise.
    Great catch by Friedl earlier in game, Swanson almost saved the day for the Cubs incredible attempt to almost double up Renfro on the last play there.

  7. J

    Imagine how good this team will be when they all figure out how to do the easy things, like not getting picked off, hitting a sacrifice fly, drawing walks, etc. And if the manager ever learns about bunting… watch out.

    • Tampa Red

      Reds are 7th in MLB in sac bunts this year so……

      • Brian Rutherford

        Stop it with the facts will you? It spoils the narrative.

      • J

        This is a great example of lying with statistics. If the Reds are indeed 7th, it’s not because the manager calls for a lot of sacrifice bunts. Anyone who watches the games ought to know this.

        If they’re 7th, it’s mainly because Friedl often tries to get bunt hits with runners on base, and when he’s thrown out but advances a runner, it’s called a “sacrifice.” He has 7 of the Reds’ sacrifice bunts this year, and I’m confident he was trying to reach base with most of them. Elly has one “sacrifice” bunt, and it was exactly the same thing — he was bunting for a hit but didn’t make it. Between McLain, Fraley, Steer, Benson, CES, India, Stephenson, Senzel, Marte, Barrero, and Votto, it’s a grand total of zero sacrifice bunts this year. Casali and Fairchild both have three, and Newman has two. Myers managed to get one, which I can actually remember because it was so weird to see a guy like Myers bunting on this team.

        See the trend here? If you’re starting regularly for this team, you basically NEVER bunt unless you’re trying for a hit.

      • Tampa Red

        Lol Ok J, you could easily googled “sacrifice bunts 2023” like I did and just taken the L, but you’d rather do a 100-word achshually I’m right rebuttal. Right on brand.

      • Melvin

        They have 18 total sac bunts in 138 games played so no matter what their ranking I’d say there’s much room for improvement in their quest to “make things happen”. 😉

      • J

        Oh, and Maile has one this season. He should have had another one tonight, but the manager didn’t ask him to do it, instead letting him ground into a double play that was about as predictable as any double play has ever been in the history of double plays.

        A grand total of four players on the active roster have had at least one sacrifice bunt this season for the Reds. Two of those players aren’t starters, and one of them was bunting for a hit but got thrown out at first. But do go on about how the facts prove this manager often calls for sacrifice bunts.

      • J

        Tampa, I’m sorry if I’m not willing to interpret stats incorrectly, as you obviously have. I don’t need to look at where the Reds rank in sacrifice bunts to know that the manager doesn’t like to call sacrifice bunts, because I’ve actually watched the games. I’m thinking you must not watch many of them if you think that stat actually proves what you think it proves.

      • J

        Since the all-star break, in a stretch when they’ve been struggling to score runs, the Reds have had a grand total of three sacrifice bunts. And I’m positive at least one of them was Elly attempting to bunt for a hit. I don’t remember the other two, but it wouldn’t surprise me if at least one of them was also a player attempting to bunt for a hit.

        But I’m to believe Bell calls for a lot of sacrifice bunts.

        Interestingly, the Reds are tied for last in sac flies this season, with 26. They’ve had three sacrifice flies since the all-star break, which is dead last. The next closest team is Detroit, with 7. I don’t think the Reds are very good at hitting sacrifice flies.

      • Tom Reeves

        Batters are allowed to try and reach base on a sac bunt. Emmanuel Kant didn’t develop the sac bunt rules.

      • greenmtred

        All of this not withstanding the fact that sac bunts and their effect have been studied and shown to decrease a team’s chance of scoring. Yes, in some situations a sac bunt might lead to a run, but over time, giving up the out is more damaging than giving up the sac. Teams know this and I think it’s pretty likely that young players league-wide aren’t spending much time perfecting bunting technique.

      • J

        Tom – batters are allowed to reach base on a sacrifice bunt, but usually it’s possible to tell — from the way they bunt and how hard they sprint to first — if they’re bunting for a hit or bunting because the manager told them to lay down a sacrifice bunt. That’s the point I’m making. Most of Friedl’s sacrifices have not been called by the manager. He was trying to get hits and wound up with sacrifices.

      • J

        GMR — agree the trend has been toward not bunting, and agree young guys aren’t being asked to learn how to do it. But if you’re a 32-year-old backup catcher who isn’t fast and isn’t a very good hitter, you should know how to bunt, and the manager should ask you to bunt sometimes. When your team is having trouble scoring and you’ve got guys on first and second with nobody out, that’s one of those times. Lots of things that may be bad ideas to do as general rules are still good things to do in specific circumstances, and every good manager understands the difference.

      • J

        Obviously they’re great at drawing walks if they’re 9th, merely 80 or 90 walks behind the teams on top, so that problem is solved. They’re not quite as high as the Pirates, but still. 9th is awesome. I stand corrected. These guys definitely know how to walk!

        But I’m still not convinced they’re quite so great when it comes to not getting picked off, hitting sacrifice flies, moving runners from second to third, etc. Maybe the stats will prove they’re also great at those things and I’m just imagining that they’re not.

  8. VaRedsFan

    Agree with the key of the game was Assad being removed.

    Just another example of a manager getting in the way.
    Many managers would have done the same thing. They would have been wrong too.

    Maybe they also have secret information.

  9. Old-school

    Sat with Tejay Antone family accidentally behind us during the covid 2021 separation 12000 seat max

    His mom dad and wife are superior nice people. Happy for them

    They talked several innings.

    Welcome back Tejay!!!

    • Melvin

      Yes. Welcome back. It would be hard to pick a more desperate time to come back in.

      Only seven Ks and three BB given up tonight for the team. That’s an improvement. HAVE to find a way to score more runs. Change the hitting approach or whatever.

    • RedBB

      I watched him on Twitch playing video games a couple years ago and he interacted with everyone and answered several of my questions. Very humble and good guy…

  10. Brian Rutherford

    Tejay Antone’s story is why baseball will always be the most compelling to me. Cruz’s success is similar in how unlikely you would find stories like this in other sports.

    Echoing everyone here: Welcome back Tejay!!

    • LarkinPhillips

      +1000. Those stories are what makes baseball so special.

  11. MBS

    Glad Abbott is gutting it through the season. It should only make him more ready for a postseason run in 24.

    Fraley, the DH of the future?

  12. Mark Moore

    I was out in historic downtown Savannah with my daughter and only saw a little bit of the game after we finished dinner. Looked up the score and was very pleasantly surprised with another 9th inning walk-it-off. And if what I heard is correct, we own the tie breaker against the Stupid Cubs (not to mention the Snakes).

    September will be tough, but we’ve seen some pretty incredible stuff. Maybe there is just enough pixie dust and magic left to finish this month strong.

    • greenmtred

      Particularly if the magic can transform MiLB pitchers into effective MLB starting pitchers.

  13. RedsGettingBetter

    It is admirable what Antone has done to come back 2 years after his last outing in the big leagues. Hopefully he could stay healthy and help the Reds bullpen. Antone was very emotional when he made declarations to the media…
    Well, The Reds are now in the position to win this series before to face Seattle Mariners in a other very tough series on a notorious disadvantage. I think the game on Sunday is pivotal unfortunately Spiers is called to start in a very hard debut. Hopefully he’ll respond with a strong performance…

  14. LT

    I said a couple games ago, I think the game where we came back to beat AZ, that I only tune in starting of 8th . 8th and 9th are where the actions are for the Reds. Unreal. Find a way to win or Just win baby. I don’t care what adversities other teams have had, the adversities the Reds have had are up there at the top but they found a way to stay in contention and will steal a WC from some body. Fraley, my gosh, we didn’t give him enough credit until he went in IR and took the offense down with him. Glad he’s back. He’s 5 for 9 with 3 doubles since his return. I dont expect thst to continue but i can certainly expect professional at bats with him. let’s get another one tomorrow.

    • RedlegScott

      Appreciate the positivity, LT, but our 8th and 9th inning heroics seem to stem from our inability to hit quality starters. And lately, everyone we’ve faced has turned out to a quality starter thanks to us! We need to generate more consistent offense. I think everyone agrees with that statement.

    • TR

      What will be, will be. But don’t miss the ninth inning.

  15. J

    I saw the 9th inning live, but I had to skip over a few innings to get there, so I’ve just now had a chance to watch Antone. It’s a great feel-good story, but it was also great pitching. In particular, I loved the way he handled Happ. The 1-0 curveball was vintage Antone. It started out looking like a strike but then dropped what seemed like two feet, and Happ swung way over it. He got Happ to foul off another good curve, then threw a perfectly placed fastball, just on the upper outside edge of the zone, that Happ could only wave at. They should put that strikeout in the “how to pitch Ian Happ” file. Now, how do we keep this guy healthy?

    • David

      I think guys get the same scouting reports on “how to” pitch to these guys, but actually executing that leaves something to be desired.
      Some pitchers actually pitch to the scouting report, and others don’t

      A lot of people were crappin’ about Greene coming back and pitching kind of lousy,and why did Bell leave him in there? I think Greene sort of refused to follow the scouting report, and Bell kind of said..”fine, don’t follow the catcher’s calls, and don’t pitch to the scouting report, just stand out there and get clobbered..” but then again, maybe that’s just me.

  16. James K

    Spiers jumps directly from AA to the majors and his debut is a start in a key game in a pennant race. Wow.

    • Doc

      That’s why I contend that this season has a lot of hidden value beyond whether or not we make the playoffs. People like Spiers are getting their feet wet in a year in which they never expected to sniff MLB, and in a season in which the Reds were never expected to to do anything more exciting than improve a little over last year. That experience could be very valuable to the team over the next couple of years, especially if these guys are able to take what they learn and use it to refine their arsenal and approach. Next year they will not be deer in headlights when their turn comes again.

      71 wins and counting.
      Above .500 in September.
      Still in a playoff spot chase.
      David Bell should be a serious candidate for manager of the year.

      • Tom Reeves


        Bell has a team of basically rookies and second year players playing hard, supporting each other as a team, and finding ways to win. I don’t really care if I don’t agree with 100% of his in-game tactics. He’s getting the big things right. This team rises to the occasion.

        Krall also needs to be up for GM of the year. This team is very well positioned for the next several years.

      • Harry Stoner

        They’ll engrave “Bell knows things” on his MoY trophy.

      • Kevin H

        Sadly some on RLN aren’t happy unless people are being negative toward Bell and the Reds. Just look at the last comment about ” Bell knows things” Its like if you don’t agree with the masses you are a outcast on RLN..

      • Jim Walker

        I do not know what to make of the situation with Bell.

        The manager persistently says the team is what it is, and nothing is going to be changed. Yet, time and again when change is forced upon the team via call ups, injuries, illness, waiver claims, and the like, bottom line results tend to improve from what they were immediately prior.

        There could be a case to be made that the fresh blood has brought hunger to win but the manager has not been able to maintain and focus that desire over time.

    • Hunt4RedsOct

      This covid Breakout is making for some desperate moves. My bigger concern is Graham ashcrafts toe injury. If it ends is season it would be a huge blow.

    • Oldtimer

      Milt Wilcox in 1970. Not a pennant race but a rookie start late in season.

      • Jim Walker

        Recall that the 1970 NL Championship team went 70-30 in the first 100 games then stumbled to the finish with a 32-30 record. Part of the drop off may have been the move to Riverfront Stadium which led to the rebuild after the 1971 season. However, a huge part of it was also the collapse of the starting rotation.

  17. Mike Adams

    Despite the errors, rookie mistakes, tiredness, nagging injuries, lack of bunts, mismanagement at times or any other lack discussed on RLN, these guys are fighting, clawing, scratching, hanging on, coming back and not giving up.
    This is not criticism of any RLN commenter but a tribute to the players.

    • Tom Reeves

      Might as well toss covid in there. This team is overcoming a lot win. If I’m an opposing team, I’m in no way happy with a small lead in the 8th or 9th.

    • J

      That’s one of the nice things about a team full of young players. They make a lot of mistakes, but they’re energetic and enthusiastic about being in the majors and eager to prove they belong. Bell seems to be getting a lot of credit for this, which I think is odd because it’s hard to imagine a team full of young guys who just go through the motions as if this is all boring to them and nothing they do makes any difference (and also because Bell strikes me as the most uninspiring manager I’ve ever heard speak), but it’s certainly a nice thing to see.

  18. old-school

    Early start today 1210 compared to the usual 140 Sunday. End of summer fireworks and huge crowds on the Riverfront today/tonight, so I assume Reds/Cubs want to get out early.

    • Kevin H

      Thanks, I didn’t realize the early start time.

  19. LT

    The rookies have been playing well, CES had a couple multi hit games, Marte and Elly had game winning and game tying hits the last two games. Great to see. Funny I don’t think of Steer as rookie because he’s been so steady all year, nothing spectacular but no slump either. AA was spectacular last night. Benson, really need him to step up and provides some punch from bottom of line up.