Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez each hit their 22nd home run of the season, three Reds pitchers singled, the Reds outfield logged two more assists, but almost all of that was before the Chicago Cubs got warmed up.
The defending World Series champions broke out for 10 nearly unanswered runs over the last four innings, all off the Cincinnati bullpen after Homer Bailey left early with a right shoulder issue in a 13-9 Chicago win on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.
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Javier Baez drove in the two tying runs with a broken-bat single and Ben Zobrist followed with a pinch-hit double over center fielder Billy Hamilton’s head, capping a four-run seventh-inning rally that lifted the Cubs to an 8-6 lead.
“That was a tough one,” Reds manager Bryan Price said of the turnaround seventh. “Two outs, one runner on, and they’re able to string together four hits. They did a good job with two-strike pitches. Things unraveled from there.”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon scratched Zobrist from his original starting lineup after Zobrist had problems getting to Cincinnati from his home in Nashville, where he’d gone to watch Monday’s eclipse.
Every spot in the Cubs’ batting order produced at least one hit and all but two drove in at least one run, and Chicago capitalized on nine walks issued by Reds pitchers – eight by the relievers.
Almost as if he was rubbing the Reds faces in it a little bit, Maddon’s ninth-inning defense adjustments included moving the left-handed-throwing Rizzo to third base – his first career appearance that position.
Jesse Winker came off the bench in the ninth to hit his fourth homer and first career pinch-hit homer and first at home and Suarez followed a Gennett walk with his second homer of the game and 23rd of the season, giving him a career-high five RBIs.
The Cubs clawed back from two three-run deficits, the first tying the game at three in the fifth. Suarez responded with a three-run blast into the left field seats in what turned out to be a last gasp as Chicago’s bullpen shut Cincinnati down.
Price lifted Bailey after three innings when the right-hander reported “irritation” in the back of his shoulder. Bailey, who was making just his 20th start over an injury-plagued last three seasons, got a visit at the mound from Price and trainer Steve Baumann after walking pitcher John Lackey with one out in the third inning. He finished the inning but didn’t return for the fourth, having thrown 47 pitches.
“My foot gave way on the mound and I felt a tweak,” Bailey said. “I was a little concerned, but I threw a few pitches and I felt fine. We just did a precautionary thing. I’ll know more tomorrow.”
Bailey was confident that he wouldn’t miss any time.
“I feel extremely confident that I’ll make my next start,” he said. “I probably could’ve continued tonight, but we thought it was better to get out and make sure I can keep going (for the rest of the season). I want to finish this thing up right.”
Before he left, he contributed the first of three hits by three different Reds pitchers. Michael Lorenzen. The last time three different Reds pitchers had at least one hit in a game was on May 19, 1999, in a 24-12 win at Colorado.
Before the first game of a 10-day, nine-game home stand, the Reds honored with a moment of silence long-time scout and front-office executive Gene Bennett, who died at the age of 89 last Wednesday.
The Reds quickly jumped on Lackey to take a 1-0 lead. Billy Hamilton singled softly over the glove of leaping second baseman Ian Happ on Lackey’s first pitch, stole second on his second pitch, went to third on Zack Cozart’s fly out to right field and scored on a wild pitch that didn’t roll more than 10 feet up the first base lane.
Cozart had missed the last two games after being hit by a pitch in the left leg on Friday.
Hamilton then saved at least two runs over the next two innings with diving catches of two sinking line drives.
Adam Duvall followed up by throwing out Happ trying to score the potential go-ahead run, cutting short the Cubs’ three-run fifth with his 12th assist of the season. The outfield assist was Cincinnati’s National League-leading 32nd of the season. The Reds went into the game trailing the Chicago White Sox by one for the major league lead and Duvall was tied with Seattle’s Jarrod Dyson for the individual major league lead.
Scott Schebler doubled Rizzo off first base to end the ninth.