Tonight’s game in Cincinnati felt more like a home game for the visiting Chicago Cubs who managed to light up the Reds pitching staff for 10 plus hits. Slugger Kris Bryant backed starting pitcher Jake Arrieta with several home runs.
Well, the first place Chicago Cubs were looking for a way to get themselves out of a slump and I think tonight’s performance by Bryant helped. It was an ugly performance by both pitching staffs but the North Siders managed to escape with the series opener.
Arrieta (12-2, 2.10 ERA) entered the game with a 1.74 earned run average but watched that balloon up to over two as the Reds (29-48) tagged him for five earned runs on four hits, five walks, four strikeouts and one home run in five innings of work.
Joe Maddon’s National League Cy Young winner was having trouble finding the strike zone and paid for it in the first inning of play.
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Bryant, who finished the game 5-for-5, got things going with an RBI double to left field, scoring Jason Heyward from first to grab an early 1-0 lead. Kris later came around to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Miguel Montero.
Former Cubs prospect Dan Straily picked up the start tonight and continued to struggle against the team that had acquired him in a trade that involved Billy McKinney, Addison Russell, Jason Hammel, and Jeff Samardzija.
Straily (4-5, 4.38 ERA) gave up two home runs to Bryant before exiting the game after 3 2/3 innings. Bryant’s first home run of the evening came during the top of the third to straight away center field, breaking up the 2-2 and putting Chicago (49-26) ahead by a run.
Both men squared off in the fourth. Shortly after Heyward extended Chicago’s lead up to 4-3, Kris launched a no-doubter out to left field. A three-run homer that traveled around 440 ft and brought him within one behind Adam Duvall is tied in the National League with 21 homers of his own.
Aside from Bryant, Arrieta took it upon himself to provide a little run support of his own by crushing an opposite field home run in the fifth. It was his second of the season which busted things wide open.
It just wasn’t enough.
Cincinnati would fight their way back by scoring four runs in three innings. First baseman Joey Votto hammered a two-run homer in the fifth (second home run in the ninth) while Tucker Barnhart brought his team within two with an RBI single in the sixth.
The Cubs continued to swing hot bats as Bryant and Anthony Rizzo went back-to-back in the eighth, making it 10-7. Javier Baez tallied the final run of the ballgame on a single in the ninth but was thrown out while attempting to stretch it out into a double.