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Mahle hurt by homers in loss to Cubs

Righty allows three round-trippers, has given up 13 this season
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- The home runs allowed have accumulated quickly on Reds rookie pitcher Tyler Mahle this season, and the career-high three he gave up to the Cubs on Sunday, to him, were unacceptable.

Some pitchers will locate a pitch where they want it and still get taken deep. But Mahle felt he didn't do that during a 6-1 Reds loss at Great American Ball Park that gave Chicago three of four games in the series. The homers allowed moved the right-hander ahead of teammate Homer Bailey for a National League-leading 13 surrendered this season.

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CINCINNATI -- The home runs allowed have accumulated quickly on Reds rookie pitcher Tyler Mahle this season, and the career-high three he gave up to the Cubs on Sunday, to him, were unacceptable.

Some pitchers will locate a pitch where they want it and still get taken deep. But Mahle felt he didn't do that during a 6-1 Reds loss at Great American Ball Park that gave Chicago three of four games in the series. The homers allowed moved the right-hander ahead of teammate Homer Bailey for a National League-leading 13 surrendered this season.

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"I gave up three home runs, and that is never good," Mahle said. "That gives the other team the momentum when they are hitting it out on you like that, so it makes it tough to win ballgames."

Now 3-6 with a 4.53 ERA in 10 starts, Mahle pitched six innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and two walks, with six strikeouts.

"Tyler is a great competitor," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We love having him out there any time, but [he had] a couple of off-speed pitches that they got him. The long ball has hurt in general, and it got us today."

Following a scoreless 12-pitch first inning, the rookie went off the rails in a 39-pitch second inning. It started with a four-pitch walk to Ian Happ, and the next batter, Kyle Schwarber, attacked a 1-1 changeup and hit a laser into the right-field seats for a two-run homer. Javier Baez made it back-to-back homers by driving a 2-1 slider into the left-field seats.

Video: CHC@CIN: Schwarber and Baez club back-to-back homers

In the fifth inning, Ben Zobrist jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Mahle and hit a leadoff homer to right field that made it a 4-1 game.

"I missed two spots with the fastball and slider," Mahle said. "I am not too sure where the fastball was to Zobrist, if it was a good pitch or not, but either way, it's a bad pitch if he knows it is coming and I hit my spot. All three of them were just bad pitches."

Video: CHC@CIN: Mahle on giving up home runs against Cubs

Mahle usually leads with his fastball, and 55 of his 85 pitches Sunday were four-seam fastballs. But he wasn't surprised that Cubs hitters seemed ready for his secondary pitches, too.

"Especially when they are not good pitches," he said. "Anything slower, they are going to see it up. When it's left over the plate, that is never good."

Meanwhile, Cubs starter Yu Darvish needed 39 pitches to get through a Reds first inning that began with Alex Blandino's walk. Scooter Gennett later got hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out, but the rally produced only Scott Schebler's two-out RBI single to the hole at shortstop.

Video: CHC@CIN: Schebler singles with the bases full in 1st

That would be Cincinnati's second and final hit vs. Darvish, who finished with six innings, one earned run, three walks and seven strikeouts.

Mahle warmed up for the seventh inning but was lifted when the Cubs used lefty pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella. Lefty reliever Wandy Peralta issued a leadoff walk to La Stella and got a potential double-play grounder to first base from Zobrist. But Joey Votto's throw sailed into the outfield for an error that led to two unearned runs.

The Reds' lineup was held to 16 hits in the four-game series, including six singles and one run over the final two games. Half of the hits came in Saturday's Game 1 win of a doubleheader.

"Maybe we'll look back and say we were fortunate to win a game in that series," Riggleman said. "But when you're playing at home, you'd certainly like to win more than that for your home fans."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Opportunity missed in fourth Darvish ran into some self-induced trouble with two walks in the bottom of the fourth inning, including a two-out walk to Mahle. But the rally ended when Billy Hamilton attacked the first pitch he saw from Darvish, a fastball, and popped up to short left field, where Baez made the routine catch. Riggleman understood why the .203-hitting Hamilton decided to be aggressive there.

Video: CHC@CIN: Darvish retires Hamilton to navigate the 4th

"I think it's a little bit of a double-edged sword. Billy is struggling, and I think he knew he was going to get a fastball," Riggleman said. "He was just so geared up and didn't want to get behind in the count. If he took a strike, I think he felt like he was really in trouble. There are some guys who take a strike and get behind in the count and it's not an issue. Right now, it's an issue for a couple of our guys."

SOUND SMART
Reds pitchers issued 30 walks in the four games vs. the Cubs. That established a new club record for most walks allowed in a four-game series. The previous record of 29 was done three times: in 2016, 1969 and 1937. Happ walked nine times in the series for the Cubs, including five times intentionally.

HE SAID IT
"It is disappointing. I'm not disappointed in the players, I'm just disappointed in the results we got. We had an exciting win yesterday in the first game, but pretty quickly, they came out and got us early in the second game. We just couldn't hold them down. We just didn't do much offensively throughout the whole series." -- Riggleman

Video: CHC@CIN: Riggleman on disappointing loss to Cubs

UP NEXT
Following a day off on Monday, the Reds resume their homestand at 7:10 p.m. ET with the first of three games vs. the Pirates. Following a pair of four-inning starts on the road, Matt Harvey will make his first home start for Cincinnati. He gave up three runs and seven hits for a no-decision in a 6-3 Reds win over the Giants on Wednesday. After a mechanical adjustment, he retired his final six batters in a row, including striking out the side in the fourth. Jameson Taillon is expected to start for the Bucs.

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

Cincinnati Reds, Tyler Mahle