Jake Arrieta turned in one of his worst starts of the season and the Chicago offense was held scoreless until the top of the ninth inning in Thursday’s series finale in Cincinnati as the Cubs fell to the Reds by a 7-2 final.
Cincinnati (65-69) scored three runs in both the second and fourth innings against Arrieta (7-5, 2.88 ERA), who was charged with six earned on six hits in just four innings of work. The right-hander also struck out eight and walked four. Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier singled, and Billy Hamilton doubled to account for the three second-inning tallies against the Chicago starter.
More from Chicago Cubs News
- Cubs need to walk the walk this winter after talking the talk
- Alec Mills shocked Cubs fans, baseball world with 2020 no-hitter
- Cubs: After season of adjustments, Seiya Suzuki primed for monster 2023
- Projecting the 2023 Cubs Opening Day lineup
- Cubs: 2022 season a ‘success,’ according to Tom Ricketts
Frazier singled again in the fourth to push the Reds lead to 4-0 and Brandon Phillips added a two-run double, chasing Arrieta and putting Chicago (59-74) in a 6-0 hole.
Dylan Axelrod (1-0, 1.64 ERA), who was only expected to provide an adequate start for the Reds, was dominant, allowing just two base hits in five innings of work, walking three and striking out eight.
After seeing the Cincinnati lead grow to 7-0 in the sixth, the Chicago offense, which managed just five hits on the afternoon, remained quiet until the top of the ninth. Stalin Castro and Luis Valbuena smacked back-to-back singles to open the frame and Jorge Soler followed with an RBI single to make it 7-1. In his first two big league games, Soler is 4-for-8 with a home run and 3 RBIs after Thursday’s 2-for-4 contest.
Arismendy Alcantara followed with a sacrifice fly against Reds reliever Jumbo Diaz to make it 7-2, but Chris Valaika, who was in the lineup for the second straight day in place of the injured Anthony Rizzo, grounded into a 4-6-3, game-ending double play.
Soler and Castro each had two hits for the Cubs, who struck out 11 times as a team and went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon.