Reds bury Cubs with six-run ninth in opener
CHICAGO -- Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall each hit two-run homers in the sixth inning as the Reds came back to defeat the Cubs, 13-6, at Wrigley Field on Monday night. Cincinnati relievers combined to toss 4 1/3 innings while allowing only one earned run, including Aroldis Chapman's five-out save -- his first of more than three outs this season.
The Reds used five different pitchers in relief of starter Michael Lorenzen, who allowed five runs on six hits while striking five in a no-decision. Brandon Phillips and Ivan De Jesus each smacked RBI singles to back Lorenzen before he gave up four runs on four hits in the fifth inning.
Justin Grimm couldn't hold the Cubs' lead as he surrendered both home runs in the sixth to pick up the loss. And Chicago's bullpen couldn't keep the game within hand, allowing six runs in the top of the ninth to drop their fifth game in the last six contests. All six runs were unearned after second baseman Starlin Castro made two errors with two outs in the inning, including a drop on an easy toss to record the last out of Chapman's grounder. Including one in the fourth inning, Castro made three errors in the game.
"I don't have any excuses. I should have made that play [in the bottom of the ninth]," Castro said. "It was a really bad night for me and the team. We'll come back tomorrow and keep our heads up."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Allow me to introduce myself: Two batters after Suarez made it a 5-5 game with his homer in the top of the sixth, Duvall pinch-hit and pulled a 2-0 Grimm pitch off of the left-field foul pole. Not only was it the two-run homer that put Cincinnati ahead, it was Duvall's debut at-bat with the Reds after he was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Louisville. That was also just the club's second pinch-hit homer of the season. Jason Bourgeois had one on Aug. 11 at San Diego. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last player to homer in his first-ever plate appearance as a Red was Ryan Jorgensen on Aug. 15, 2007, also at Wrigley Field. More >
"The first pitch, I was swinging for a fastball and he threw me a curveball in the dirt," Duvall said of Grimm. "I guess it bought me a couple of more curveballs with that swing. He ended up leaving one up and I was able to get to it."
Getting home: Chicago's Dexter Fowler had already set a career high in home runs, but his blast on Monday gave him another milestone. The seven-year veteran connected on his 15th home run of the season in the third inning with a solo shot into the left-field basket. It was the 85th run Fowler has scored this year, the most he's tallied in a single season since he scored 84 in 2011 with the Rockies.
Big caught stealing: The Cubs tried to double steal with two outs in the eighth and Castro at the plate. Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart made a perfect throw to second base behind runner Kris Bryant to nail him for the third out and stop the rally before the Reds had their own big inning in the ninth to put the game away.
"At the time, it was [a big deal] because you never know what could have happened that inning," said Barnhart, who was 3-for-5 with a two-run single in the ninth.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon added, "You're facing Chapman so you don't really anticipate a couple of hits in a row. If you get the guy to second base, all of a sudden it takes a single to tie the game. The thing is, you gotta continue to be aggressive, continue with the aggressive moves. Sometimes they don't play out and they look that way, but I was on board with all that stuff."
Fifth-inning frenzy: After the Reds scored twice in the top of the frame, the Cubs rallied with a four-run fifth inning to grab the lead for a half inning. Castro, Chris Denorfia and Addison Russell all scored from the bottom of Chicago's order before Kyle Schwarber scored on Bryant's single. Anthony Rizzo was thrown out trying to reach third base from first off Bryant's single, ending the scoring threat.
"I am over it already. Just throw that one away. … I think our team is fine, actually. We're playing pretty well. We had a bad night. We got off the plane at six o'clock in the morning. I'm really pleased with our group. -- Maddon, on the Cubs' fifth loss in their last six games following a five-game win streak.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With Lorenzen making the start, it was the 78th time a rookie started for the Reds this season. That broke the 2001 club record, according to Elias.
When Chapman batted for himself during the long ninth-inning rally, it was only his second career plate appearance. His first came on Aug. 21, 2013, vs. Arizona, when he struck out. Chapman reached on a Castro error and scored from first base on Monday.
Reds: Anthony DeSclafani will get the ball when the series continues at 8:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. DeSclafani is coming off of a hard-luck loss vs. the Dodgers when he gave up one run and six hits over seven innings for a 1-0 loss on Thursday.
Cubs: Dan Haren takes the mound looking to build off his longest outing since June, this time with fewer runs, when the Cubs host the middle game against Cincinnati. Haren tossed 25 2/3 innings across five starts in the month of August, but gave up five runs in 6 1/3 innings last time out. First pitch from Wrigley Field is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT.
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