This weekend was a roller coaster ride for Cubs fans as the team looked to get some payback against the Cincinnati Reds for a four-game road sweep in late June. Cubs fans’ patience was put to the test with early deficits for the home team and multiple lead changes, but the Northsiders ultimately emerged victorious in the final two games to win the series.
Friday, July 6
Reds 3, Cubs 2
W: Mahle (7-6) L: Montgomery (3-3) SV: Iglesias (17)
Player of the Game: Tyler Mahle (6.2 IP, 1 R on 5 H)
Cubs SP Mike Montgomery gave the team a chance to win, allowing three runs in 5.0 IP, but was outdone by his Reds counterpart Tyler Mahle, who allowed just one run in 6.2 IP. The Cubs scored an additional run in the 8th inning on a sacrifice fly by INF/OF Ben Zobrist but failed to tie the game. They attempted to rally in the 9th inning on a one-out single by OF Ian Happ. Happ advanced to 2nd on a groundout by C Victor Caratini, pinch-hitting for RP Justin Wilson. OF Jason Heyward represented the Cubs’ final chance with 2 outs but lined out to left to end the game, snapping the Cubs’ season-high 6-game winning streak.
Saturday, July 7
Cubs 8, Reds 7
W: Rosario (4-0) L: Hughes (2-3) SV: Morrow (20)
Players of the Game: Javier Báez (4-5, 2 RBI); Randy Rosario (2.1 IP, 0 R, 1 RBI)
It was the Cubs’ struggling SP Tyler Chatwood’s turn in the rotation and the Wrigley fans witnessed a typical 2018 “Tyler Chatwood Experience” with wild pitches and walks galore. The home team started with an early deficit thanks to two run-scoring wild pitches in the first inning. Chatwood ultimately pitched 5.2 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits with four walks and the two aforementioned wild pitches. RP Randy “The GOAT” Rosario pitched 2.1 scoreless innings after also appearing in a 1.2 inning outing on Friday, notching his fourth victory of the year after the Cubs put up four runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to take the lead. Rosario added to his “legend” by notching his first major-league hit, an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th inning which scored INF Addison Russell.
The Cubs’ 8th inning rally was kicked off with a leadoff walk of C Víctor Caratini by Reds RP Amir Garrett, followed by another free pass to Russell. Rookie INF David Bote entered the game as a pinch-hitter replacing Rosario. Bote singled to load the bags, chasing Garrett from the game in favor of Reds RP Jared Hughes. Cubs INF/OF Ben Zobrist then lined a double to center field, scoring Caratini and Russell. After OF Albert Almora, Jr. struck out, INF and first-time NL All-Star Javier Báez hit an infield single to tie the game at 7. INF Anthony Rizzo then grounded out to second, scoring Zobrist as the go-ahead run.
RP Brandon Morrow took the mound in the 9th, shutting the door on the Reds and earning his 20th save of the year in a very satisfying and dramatic win for the Northsiders.
Sunday, July 8
Cubs 6, Reds 5 F/10
W: Farrell (3-3) L: Stephens (2-2)
Players of the Game: Javier Báez (2-5, 2 RBI); David Bote (1-1, 1 RBI, 1 BB); Joey Votto (E)
The Cubs took the field for Sunday’s rubber match in the catbird seat with their ace SP, June NL Pitcher of the Month and 2018 All-Star Jon Lester, on the hill, who came into the game with a seven-game consecutive start winning streak. The Cubs got out to an early lead with a 2-run double by INF Addison Russell scoring OFs Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ.
Lester gave up an RBI single to INF José Peraza in the 3rd inning and a 2-run HR to INF Eugenio Suárez in the 4th inning that delivered the advantage to the visitors, but the Cubs evened the tally in the bottom of the inning with a ground ball to 2nd by Russell forcing out Happ and bringing in Schwarber.
In the top of the 5th, a series of miscues by C Willson Contreras and OF Albert Almora, Jr. resulted in Reds OF Billy Hamilton scoring from 1st base on a steal of 2nd.
After a quiet 6th inning, the Northsiders took the lead on a 2-run single by Báez scoring Almora and fellow OF Jason Heyward. The Cubs held the lead in the 8th inning thanks to the efforts of RPs Carl Edwards, Jr. (recently activated from the DL), Justin Wilson and Steve Cishek. Closer Brandon Morrow was handed the ball for the top of the 9th, but failed to convert the save after giving up a game-tying solo HR to Reds OF Adam Duvall.
The Cubs had an excellent chance to walk it off in the bottom of the 9th inning, loading the bases with one out. Thanks to a skillful play by Reds C Curt Casali digging out a bad throw home by Reds INF Scooter Gennett, Cubs INF David Bote was forced out on a ground ball by INF Javier Báez. INF Anthony Rizzo lined out to end the home team’s chances of winning in regulation.
RP Luke Farrell worked a 1-2-3 top of the 10th and kept the game tied at 5. In the bottom of the inning, first-time NL All-Star Contreras worked a leadoff walk from Reds RP Jackson Stephens. A wild pitch by Stephens advanced Contreras to 2nd, but Stephens ultimately retired the hitter, C Víctor Caratini, pinch hitting for Morrow and replacing Rizzo at 1st. After an intentional walk to OF Ian Happ, the decisive play of the game occurred with INF Addison Russell at the plate. Russell hit a ground ball to Reds INF Joey Votto at 1st and was initially ruled out on the field. Upon a crew chief review requested by Cubs manager Joe Maddon, it was determined Votto was not holding the ball when his foot touched the bag and the call was overturned, loading the bases for INF David Bote. The Cubs rookie showed a good batting eye in his plate appearance to take a walk which forced in Contreras as the game’s winning run.
The Cubs are hitting the road for a six-game West Coast trip ahead of the All-Star Break, with a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants opening at 10:15 PM ET tonight (Tickets – SeatGeek).
Featured Image: Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com
I grew up a Cubs fan in Northwest Illinois and became an avid follower of the team during the Sosa-McGwire home run chase. Now I am the #1 Cubs fan in Toronto, Canada. You can find me on Twitter @Troll_Hamels (personal) and @farnorthsider (blog).