Reds' big bats back masterful Leake
CINCINNATI -- In what could have been his final home start as a Red at Great American Ball Park, Mike Leake made it a smooth one. Leake dealt eight innings and got plenty of support in the Reds' 9-1 victory over the Cubs in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.
Leake, widely speculated to be moved before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, gave up one earned run and four hits, with no walks and six strikeouts. Two of the hits were singles by red-hot Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber. But after Schwarber's one-out hit in the third inning, Leake retired his final 17 batters in a row. He has not lost a start to the Cubs since April 21, 2012. Since then, Leake is 5-0 in nine starts vs. Chicago.
"Pretty much all of my pitches were working pretty well," Leake said. "[Catcher] Tucker [Barnhart] was doing a good job of mixing it up and attacking hard when we needed to."
The Reds' big innings came when they sent nine men to the plate in the first and seventh innings. Each rally yielded four runs. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks lasted six innings and allowed five earned runs on seven hits, with two walks and nine strikeouts. Hendricks' first five batters of the game reached safely as Cincinnati sprinted to a 4-0 first-inning lead. Following a pair of infield hits and a walk that loaded the bases, Todd Frazier blooped a two-run double near the right-field line. Eugenio Suarez followed with a two-run double of his own to left field.
"Weird is a good word for it," Hendricks said of his outing. "Honestly, I'll be the first one to tell you when I don't make good pitches, but I thought I was throwing pretty well, even from the first. Some bad breaks, I mean it wasn't my day. Really wanted to get that one, especially with the great win we had last night. Trying to keep that momentum going, but not much you can do about it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Frazier feeling good: When Frazier blooped his two-run double in the first inning, it gave him six RBIs in the series, with one game remaining. After he went 0-for-10 in the previous series vs. Cleveland, Frazier is 6-for-15, including going 3-for-5 with two doubles in Game 1 of the twin bill.
Schwarber's world: Schwarber was back it again, adding to his impressive series with an RBI single in the third inning and finishing 2-for-3. The single to right field scored Addison Russell from third base and gave him back-to-back singles to start off the game. Schwarber led the Cubs to a 5-4 victory on Tuesday night with a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth inning and a go-ahead home run in the 13th.
"Obviously, it's going to come back at some point, but right now, he's got such a short compact swing and he makes good decisions," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's not chasing. He chased a couple times, but then even if he does early in the count, by the time he gets to two strikes he normally regroups. We saw the same thing when he came up earlier, and he did a nice job with that, too, so of course it's going to come back, but for right now, we'll take it. He's just having some really good at-bats."
No. 17 for Votto: With one out in the fifth, Reds first baseman Joey Votto attacked a first pitch from Hendricks and put it in the right-field seats. It was Votto's 17th home run of the season and was part of a 3-for-4 game, along with a walk. The first-inning free pass extended Votto's streak of reaching safely to 12 games and 81 of his 91 played this season.
"I've been working with [hitting coach] Don Long to make some adjustments to what was a flawed swing," Votto said. "I'm still kind of working through it. I feel like I'm headed in the right direction. There are some subtle adjustments to make."
Coghlan with diving catch: It appeared Brandon Phillips was on his way to at least a double to lead off the seventh inning, but Cubs left fielder Chris Coghlan was there to make an outstanding diving catch. Coghlan had to cover a lot of ground to make a full extension on the play, robbing Phillips of an extra-base hit. More >
"He's been watching what's going on, especially coming after a 13-inning game [Tuesday]. That was big. … We used one other pitcher today. We didn't have to get anybody else loose, and that will help in Game 2." -- Reds manager Bryan Price, on Leake
Maddon was tossed by first-base umpire Adam Hamari after arguing a balk call in the bottom of the fourth inning. Barnhart was awarded second base on a balk from Hendricks that both first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Maddon disagreed with. Rizzo first argued the call with Hamari, and then Maddon came out to also talk it over with Hamari, which led to his ejection. It was Maddon's third ejection of the season.
"He said because basically Rizzo did not attempt to go back and make a tag, and I didn't want to hear it at that point," Maddon said. "He came like he was going to charge on the bunt, but I saw the replay. He was kind of meandering back to the bag, which normally is good enough." More >
The Reds and Cubs will return for Game 2 of the day-night doubleheader at 6:10 p.m. ET. Tony Cingrani will be activated from the disabled list to make his first start of 2015 for Cincinnati against Chicago's Dallas Beeler.
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