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Rizzo's slam, walk-off WP send Cubs past Reds

August 16, 2017

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo smacked a grand slam in the first inning and Javier Baez scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in a wild ninth on Wednesday night to lift the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Reds.With the game tied at 6 in

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo smacked a grand slam in the first inning and Javier Baez scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in a wild ninth on Wednesday night to lift the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Reds.
With the game tied at 6 in the ninth, Baez doubled to lead off against Wandy Peralta. Pinch-hitter Jonathan Jay walked, and Benjamin Zobrist then trotted to first after being hit by a pitch. But first-base umpire Chris Conroy said Zobrist had shown bunt, which prompted an argument from Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who was ejected. Zobrist then grounded out, advancing both runners.
The Cubs regrouped. Blake Wood took over for Peralta, and the Reds utilized a five-man infield against Albert Almora Jr., who struck out. Wood's first pitch to Kristopher Bryant was a slider that bounced a foot outside of the plate and skipped away from catcher Tucker Barnhart. Baez scored from third.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

"Obviously, Kris is a great hitter. In that situation, I'm hoping he'll chase something and try to keep it out of the middle of the plate," Wood said. "I just pulled it a little bit too far, and it looked like it might have hit a little bit weird."
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It was the Cubs' fourth walk-off win this season, but first since May 4 when they did so against the Phillies.
"It's a good win for us -- we haven't walked off in a while," Rizzo said. "Tucker Barnhart was really good behind there. He's a really good blocker. [The ball] didn't get fully by him, but that's a great read by Javy there to score that run."
The Reds were limited with relievers. Michael Lorenzen was not available and Raisel Iglesias, after pitching 1 2/3 challenging innings on Tuesday, was only available for a one-inning save situation. It's the second time on this road trip the Reds have lost on a walk-off wild pitch. On Saturday, Tim Adleman's wild pitch in the 10th inning resulted in a 6-5 loss to the Brewers. On Aug. 26, 2016, at Arizona, Wood also gave up a walk-off wild pitch.
"It's not fun to be a part of," Wood said. "The guys did a great job today, really battling back against some tough relievers. I thought we played a great game out there. Sometimes, it just really is a game of inches. If that ball skipped a little bit better and Tucker keeps it in front, maybe we're still playing."
The Cubs had opened a 4-1 lead in the first behind Rizzo's third career grand slam, his 28th homer of the season, and eventually led, 6-1, after Thomas La Stella's pinch-hit RBI double in the sixth, but the Reds chipped away at the lead and tied the game at 6 on pinch-hitter Adam Duvall's two-run homer with one out in the eighth off C.J. EdwardsZack Cozart's homer in the seventh had narrowed the gap to two runs.

Cincinnati's Joey Votto missed in his bid to join Ted Williams as the only Major League players to reach base at least twice in 21 consecutive games. Votto singled in the first, but he flied out to right in the third, and lined out to John Lackey, who made a snowcone catch to end the fifth. Reliever Brian Duensing got Votto to ground out to Rizzo in the seventh in his final at-bat.

"If you hold him to a single, you call it a win," Lackey said of Votto. Lackey was in line for the win and a chance to improve to 6-0 since the All-Star break but ended up with a no-decision.
With the win, the Cubs maintained a 1 1/2-game lead in the National League Central over the Brewers, who beat the Pirates earlier on Wednesday.
Glove work: The Cubs made two plays at the plate that stymied the Reds. In the first, Billy Hamilton doubled to lead off the game and the Reds eventually loaded the bases. Hamilton scored on Eugenio Suarez's sacrifice fly, and Cozart tried to score when Scooter Gennett flied out to left. But Kyle Schwarber threw a perfect strike home for the double play and ended the inning. The Reds had runners at second and third with one out in the second and Jesse Winker tried to score on Homer Bailey's grounder to Rizzo, but Rizzo also threw home for the out.

Welcome to the show: With two outs in the Reds' seventh, Phillip Ervin launched the first pitch he saw from Hector Rondon 380-feet into the left-field bleachers. It was Ervin's first Major League hit. Ervin is the first Reds player to homer for his first MLB hit since Juan Francisco did so on Sept. 18, 2009. Cozart added a two-run homer in the seventh, also off Rondon. For Cozart, it was No. 17, a career high.

This is the first time the Cubs have had multiple first-inning grand slams in the same season since 1999, when Gary Gaetti did so both times. This year, Baez hit a first-inning slam on May 18 against the Reds.
The Cubs have hit 52 homers since the All-Star break, tops in the NL. 
In the doomed second-inning Reds rally, Barnhart had runners on second and third base with no outs when he swung at a Lackey 3-0 pitch and popped out to second baseman Zobrist. In his 29 previous career plate appearances with a 3-0 count, Barnhart was 1-for-1 with 28 walks.

"I just didn't execute those pitches as well as I could have. Tonight, just like they have all season, our offense did an outstanding job in coming back and they really showed their heart right there. Tonight, starting pitching lost us the game. It's 100 percent on me." -- Bailey, who walked five and struck out 10 over 5 2/3 innings, and surrendered the Rizzo grand slam.

"I don't even know what to say about that call. We've had different things happen and I've been playing really good in the sand box and I'm not right now. That call cannot be made under those circumstances." -- Maddon, on the ninth-inning play that preceded his ejection.

With two outs in the Cubs' fourth, Lackey singled to center and then stole second for his first career steal. Zobrist walked and Lackey wandered off second, drawing a throw from catcher Barnhart. Lackey was ruled safe, but the Reds challenged the call, and after a review, it was overturned and Lackey was out to end the inning.
Lackey joined teammate Jonathan Lester as one of four NL pitchers to swipe a base this season.
"When I got to hit, [first-base coach Brandon Hyde] was like, 'Do you want to steal a base?'" Lackey said. "I was like, 'Heck, no, I'm tired.' After the first pitch, nobody was really watching me, and it looked like it was pretty easy, so I just went ahead and went."
Did he have a green light to go?
"Of course, he does," Maddon said. "How would you ever red light John Lackey?"
"I made two bets -- one worked, one didn't," Lackey said about being picked off.

Reds: For the series finale at 2:20 p.m. ET Thursday, Scott Feldman will make the start for Cincinnati. Feldman has started twice vs. the Cubs this season and is 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA. On June 30, he pitched seven innings with two hits in the Reds' 5-0 victory at Great American Ball Park.
Cubs: Lester will close this series on Thursday. He's 3-1 with a 3.26 ERA since the All-Star break. The lefty gave up four runs over six innings in his last outing against the D-backs. He's 4-1 in 11 career starts against the Reds. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field.
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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.