Thanks to a game-tying ninth-inning home run from Anthony Rizzo, the Chicago Cubs forced extra innings, defeating the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
In what seems to be a common occurrence, the Chicago Cubs offense roared to life in the late innings Friday night. First, it was Anthony Rizzo with a game-trying three-run blast that barely edged the right-field wall in the ninth.
Then, in extras, Kris Bryant delivered the game-winner, a sacrifice fly to left that allowed Albert Almora to slide in ahead of the tag at home plate. With the win, Chicago moves into first in the National League Central.
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Base-on-balls continue to plague Cubs pitchers. The team ranks fifth in Major League Baseball in walks on the early season. Offensively, hitting with runners in scoring position has been a near-constant issue – as was the case for much of Friday’s contest.
Chicago closer Wade Davis has been the best weapon in Joe Maddon‘s bullpen so far this season. He’s shown no signs of struggles he experienced this spring, shutting the door with authority every time he takes the hill.
Friday also marked the one-year anniversary of Jake Arrieta‘s second career no-hitter, a 16-0 win over these same Reds last season. One of the most memorable games of the entire 2016 campaign, he will look to replicate that success in Saturday’s matinee.
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Chicago (9-7) continues its series with Cincinnati (9-8) with a Saturday afternoon matinee.
Arrieta starts for the Cubs and is opposed by southpaw Cody Reed. The two teams occupy the top slots in the division entering play Saturday at Great American Ballpark.