In a game where Kyle Hendricks didn’t have his best stuff, the Cubs found a way to claw their way back into the game.
For the second night in a row, “Bryzzo” used the long ball in the first inning of the ball game, this time Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run bomb to drive in Kris Bryant and stake the Cubs to an early 2-0 lead against Reds’ starter Wade Miley. That didn’t last long as Joey Votto and Kyle Farmer both hit home runs against Hendricks early, giving the Reds a 5-3 lead by the time Hendricks departed early in the top of the 5th.
The Cubs didn’t give up hope or runs after Hendricks left. They scraped together one run in the 7th on a Nico Hoerner single that barely eluded Shogo Akiyama in centerfield. Willson Contreras then hit a solo bomb to score the tying run in the 8th.
The bullpen was stellar as it went 4 2/3 innings without giving up another run, culminating in the three-strikeout top of the 9th from Craig Kimbrel, who would eventually earn the win.
In the bottom of the 9th inning, the Cubs took advantage of free passes to load the bases as Patrick Wisdom and Ian Happ walked before Nico Hoerner wore one to load things up. David Ross then went to the bench and sent Javier Baez up to the plate against his nemesis, Amir Garrett. After some jawing on his way up to the plate, and while in the box, Baez deposited the first pitch over the heads of a pulled-in outfield, scoring Wisdom for the game-winner. (Box Score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs continued to scratch and claw back in the later innings. Kimbrel pitched a scoreless 9th inning to give the team a chance to win and Báez, once again, stepped up in the spotlight.
While the last at-bat was the game-winner, Contreras hitting that bomb to tie things up in the 8th really set the stage for the 9th inning victory.
Stats That Matter
- Rizzo, Bryant, and Báez continue to shine this week with the trade deadline looming, combining to go 5-for-9 with two walks, three runs, and three RBI.
- Kimbrel joins that trifecta above as a guy who continues to play at a high level despite the trade rumors swirling. He’s now sporting a 0.49 ERA and upped his already stellar 46.2% strikeout rate with three more tonight.
- Hendricks wasn’t good (4.1 IP, 9H, 5ER, 2BB, 4K), but still hasn’t lost a game since May 9th.
The biggest news continues to be on the trade front, regardless of wins and losses for the Cubs. The Cubs finalized a deal with the Oakland Athletics involving Andrew Chafin during the game, but the big names are still wearing Cubbie blue…for now.
The Cubs continue their four-game set with the Reds Tuesday night as Vladimir Gutierrez takes on Adbert Alzolay. Game time is 7:05 CT and can be seen on Marquee. Pat and Ron can be heard on 670 The Score.