Phillip Ervin may be a late-bloomer, but the Cincinnati outfielder has arrived in the majors with bang.
Ervin hit a two-run homer to snap a tie in the seventh inning and had four RBIs in his first major league start as the Reds rebounded from blowing a nine-run lead to defeat the Chicago Cubs 13-10 on Thursday.
Ervin, in right field in his fifth game, also had a single and double in four at-bats. On Wednesday, the 25-year-old homered as a pinch hitter for his first hit.
“I have struggled through the minors a bit so to come up here just showing everybody I can play, it just feels good,” said Ervin, who appeared in three games in April before his recall this week from Triple-A. “So I’m just trying to take it as it is and have fun right now.”
Joey Votto lofted a three-run homer in a nine-run, second-inning rally as Cincinnati raced to a 9-0 lead against Cubs starter Jon Lester on a warm day with the wind blowing out.
Ian Happ hit two solo shots and a sacrifice fly, and Alex Avila went deep and had three RBIs for the Cubs, who used six homers to erase a nine-run deficit for the first time since August 1989 versus Houston.
“A lot of times, that’s a hard game to hold on to because you’ve lost so much momentum,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We were able to hold the line a little bit and settle things down, and then Ervin hits the big homer to make it 11-9.”
Drew Storen (4-2) pitched a scoreless sixth for the win, then Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 23 chances. Justin Grimm (1-2), who gave up Erwin’s homer and was the second of five Cubs relievers took the loss.
Happ, Avila, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez homered in the fourth as the Cubs went deep four times in an inning for the first time since June 2008 to cut it to 9-6.
Middletown’s Kyle Schwarber homered to lead off the fifth, then Anthony Rizzo and Avila drove in runs with doubles against Michael Lorenzen to tie it at 9.
The Reds sent 13 men to the plate in the second. Eugenio Suarez and Ervin each had a single and a double in the eight-hit outburst.
Lester was pulled with left lat tightness with two outs in the inning and saw a doctor after the game. Manager Joe Maddon didn’t have a report on the lefty, but knew his velocity was down and that he lacked finishing pop on pitches.
“They had a lot of soft hits over over the infielders heads,” Maddon said. “The cutter was down to 84-85 (mph). That’s not quite right.”
Lester was charged with nine runs, seven earned, and was replaced by Mike Montgomery after facing 11 batters in the inning and Cincinnati leading 8-0.
It was Cincinnati’s biggest rally since scoring 10 runs in August 2015 versus Detroit.
Montgomery allowed no runs in 4 1/3 innings to set the stage for the Cubs’ comeback.
“We had a chance to re-group and at that point we just started hitting,” Montgomery said. “Our offense was unbelievable today. It was really just that one inning.”
Bryant led off the fourth with a drive to left that bounced off the bleachers and onto Waveland Avenue. Avila’s two-run homer was followed by consecutive solo shots from Happ and Baez off Reds starter Scott Feldman, who allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Cincinnati permitted four homers in an inning for the first time since September 2007 versus Milwaukee.
After Chicago tied it 9-all in the fifth, Ervin put the Reds back in front 11-9 in the seventh. Happ’s sac fly in the bottom half made it 11-10.The Reds added insurance runs in the eighth and ninth.
Reds: Price said OF Scott Schebler (strained left rotator cuff) should rejoin the club Friday in Atlanta. Schebler has been on the 10-day disabled list since Aug. 1. and began a rehab stint at Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday. … RHP Robert Stephenson (bruised right shoulder) is scheduled to return to the rotation against the Braves on Saturday.
Reds: RHP Sal Romano (2-5, 6.05) faces Braves RHP R.A. Dickey (8-7, 3.89) on Friday night in Atlanta. Romano, one of three rookies in Cincinnati’s rotation, has lost four straight.