The Cincinnati Reds (46-42) busted this game wide open during the bottom of the eighth inning on a bases loaded clearing triple by outfielder Billy Hamilton to extend the lead to 9-3 – and that was all the run support they needed to pick up the victory.
Hamilton had himself a solid night in the batters box against the Cubs, finishing the night 2-for-4 with four RBIs – his first coming on a single off Edwin Jackson during the bottom of the fifth inning to make it 2-1 halfway home. All-Star hopeful Anthony Rizzo launched home run number 18 on the year to right field, a two-run shot that would cut Cincinnati’s lead down to just one after trailing 3-1 coming into the top of the seventh.
Rizzo and the Cubs tied up the ballgame at 1-1 during the top of the fifth inning after he was able to reach on a fielding error by third baseman Jay Bruce. Chicago’s power-hitting first baseman needed to prove that he deserved a spot on the All-Star roster next weekend as he finished 1-for-5 with just two RBIs and a pair of strikeouts. Not sure if it’s going to be enough to help him join his fellow teammate Starlin Castro, but the two pulled off an amazing defensive play that would be reviewed.
Castro backhanded a broken bat ground ball that was hit by All-Star Todd Frazier during the top of the seventh inning, receiving a great stretch by Rizzo but the runner was called safe. Cubs skipper Rick Renteria quickly walked out of the visiting dugout and challenged the call which would be overturned. Jay Bruce later redeemed himself for his error by blasting a two-run shot of his own shortly after the call with Frazier was reversed. The two-run shot by Bruce gave the Reds a comfortable 6-3 lead, which would later be extended by Hamilton.
Cubs (38-49) starter Edwin Jackson (5-9, 5.05 ERA) took the loss tonight after giving up four earned runs off six hits but managed to strikeout six – his counter part Mike Leake (7-7, 3.42 ERA) on the other hand, made it through one more inning than he did. Leake gave up the two-run blast to Rizzo ontop of eight previous hits and three runs (two earned, Rizzo) before being replaced.
Starlin Castro is currently the only Cub who will play in the All-Star game, but he didn’t have himself a great night at the plate. Castro finished tonight’s ballgame going 0-for-3 with one strikeout and leaving three men stranded.
This series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds continues tomorrow afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 12:10 PM CT. Probable pitcher for the Cubs as of right now is Travis Wood (7-6, 4.62 ERA) while the Reds are yet to announce their starter.