McCoy: Cubs beat Greene, Reds

The Cincinnati Reds will leave Chicago after Thursday’s game still occupying last place in the National League Central division.

That was assured Wednesday night in Wrigley Field when the Chicago Cubs planted an 8-3 kiss on the Reds.

When the three-game series began Tuesday, the Reds could have vacated the cellar with a sweep.

They did their part Tuesday with a win, but on Wednesday the Cubs said, “Not tonight, gentlemen.”

Reds starter Hunter Greene (3-9, 5.72) lasted only four innings, but his team only trailed by 3-0 at the time.

The bullpen took care of that. Luis Cessa gave up a two-run home run to Willson Contreras in the fifth and Ross Detwiler gave up a two-run down range shot to Christopher Morel, a 429-footer that crash landed on the top row of the left-field bleachers. On Tuesday, Morel struck out four times.

Back in May, Greene and Chicago starter Justin Steele were matched in Great American Ball Park and the Reds turned Steele into twisted metal.

In only two innings, they ripped Steele for seven runs and seven hits en route to a 20-5 Reds romp.

On Wednesday, they scored 18 fewer and Steele held them to one run and six hits over five innings.

Greene’s problem was command and control. He only gave up two hits in four innings, but he hit a batter and walked two. All three scored.

In the first inning, he hit the second batter he faced, Contreras, and he scored on Ian Happ’s double to the ivy-covered wall in left field.

Greene walked the first two he faced in the fourth, Happ and Patrick Wisdom, and both scored on Nico Hoerner’s double to left center for a 3-0 Cubs lead.

The Reds had ample early opportunities but couldn’t convert.

They had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth after full count singles by both Tommy Pham and Kyle Farmer, sandwiched around a walk to Joey Votto.

Donovan Solano lined one to center and Morel sprinted in to make the catch, then threw an on-target laser to home to wipe out Pham trying to score after the catch.

And that 8-to-2 double play ended the inning.

The Reds put two on with one out in fifth with two straight infield singles by Nick Senzel and Aramis Garcia, both of which should have been errors but were ruled hits.

Jonathan India hit into a 6-4-3 double play, concluding that mini uprising.

Cincinnati opened the sixth with a single by Brandon Drury, a full-count walk to Pham and a run-scoring double by Votto.

That drew the Reds to within 5-1, with runners on third and second with no outs.

It spelled the end for Cubs starter Steele. Scott Effross arrived and stranded the two runners. Farmer lined to second, Solano struck out and Albert Almora Jr. grounded to short.

The Reds scored a run in the eighth on Votto’s second double of the night and Almora’s two-out double to make it 7-2. And Brandon Drury homered in the ninth, far too little and far too late.

Newly acquired catcher Mike Papierski made his Reds debut in the sixth and batted in the seventh. He swung at the first pitch he saw and singled to left, his first major-league hit.

The Reds’ bullpen misery continued in the eighth when Jeff Hoffman walked Andrelton Simmons, hitting .189 with two walks all season. Simmons stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Rafael Ortega’s sacrifice fly to make it 8-2. Contreras then doubled for his third hit — home run and two doubles.

The Reds were 4 for 14 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners standing on the bases.

Papierski is the 51st player used by the Reds this season. That’s six shy of the club record, 57 players in 2003, and the season isn’t yet halfway done.

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