Ineptitude? The Reds had only one hit off Cubs starter Adrian Sampson for seven innings, a second-inning leadoff home run by Jake Fraley that gave the Reds a 1-0 lead. And they had only four hits during the game’s entirety, three by Fraley.
Then Graham Ashcraft happened. He was making only his second start since coming off the injured list and the Cubs ripped him for six runs and six hits that included four doubles in 2 2/3 innings.
After a 1-2-3 first inning, Ashcraft gave up a leadoff bloop single to left to Ian Happ and the flood gates opened.
Franmil Reyes, 4 for 45, doubled into the ivy on the left wall and Nico Hoerner doubled off the left-field wall for a two runs. With two outs, Christopher Morel singled to make it 3-1.
It was more of the same in the third, three more runs and Ashcraft’s exit. Seiyo Suzuki led with a bloop single to right and Ashcraft walked two straight to fill the bases.
One run scored on a fielder’s choice and two more crossed on a double by Yan Gomes to push Chicago’s lead to 6-1.
Connor Overton replaced Ashcraft and walked the first batter he faced, then retired 13 straight to keep the Cubs within eyesight.
It was an unlucky 13 for Overton. Happ opened the eighth with a single. He also gave up a two-out single to Gomes but left the two runners stranded when P.J. Higgins grounded out.
The Reds finally solved Sampson, a little bit, in the seventh when Fraley and Donovan Solano singled to open the inning. But Spencer Steer grounded into a force play and Michael Siani hit into an inning-ending double play.