The Cincinnati Reds rode two big innings including a six-run ninth as the last place Reds throttled Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday,13-6.
In their last three victories, the Reds(54-76) have scored at least 12 runs, but are just 3-5 in that stretch with four of those losses featuring one run or less. Michael Lorenzen took the mound for Cincinnati replacing David Holmberg on the roster and in the rotation. He was joined by Adam Duvall, who was called up earlier in the day to take the place of the injured Brennan Boesch and would make his Reds debut in the sixth inning.
Lorenzen struggled in his first outing with the team since being sent down to Louisville after his disastrous outing on Aug. 11. He only made it through 4.2 innings on Monday and has not won since June 21. Kyle Hendricks completed five innings of work allowing three runs and was in line for the win until the Reds got to the Chicago (74-56) bullpen in the sixth.
Neither team scored through the first two innings, but the third inning began what would be a rough day for pitchers on both sides. Dexter Fowler started the scoring with a solo home run, but Cincinnati tied the game quickly in the fourth on an RBI single by Ivan De Jesus Jr.
The Reds claimed the lead in the fifth when Lorenzen got the offense going after being hit by a pitch. Jason Bourgeois followed with a single and then the Cubs elected to walk Joey Votto with two outs to load the bases. Brandon Phillips made Chicago pay as he drove home Lorenzen and Bourgeois to make it a 3-1 game.
In the bottom of the inning is when things unraveled for Lorenzen as Starlin Castro started the inning with a double and Chris Denorfia drew a pinch-hit walk. Addison Russell doubled home Castro and Denorfia and then scored as well on a Kyle Schwarber single. Lorenzen hit Anthony Rizzo with two outs and that was the end for the rookie pitcher. Ryan Mattheus (2-4) came on and allowed a infield hit to Kris Bryant that bounced out of the glove of diving Phillips. Hustling all the way, Schwarber scored from second, but Rizzo was thrown out trying to go from first to third.
Down 5-3, the Reds rallied against new pitcher Justin Grimm (2-4) as De Jesus Jr. walked and Eugenio Suarez crushed a game tying home run to right field. Tucker Barnhart followed with a single and then in his Reds debut Duvall homered just inside the left field foul pole to break the tie. Duvall also homered in his first career at bat with the Giants that just so happened to be against the man he was eventually traded for, Mike Leake.
Clayton Richard came on in relief of Grimm and retired the final two Reds in the inning. Fernando Rodney, making his first appearance as Cub at Wrigley, and Tommy Hunter kept the Reds off the board and the game at 7-5. Cincinnati got scoreless outings from Collin Balester and Burke Badenhop, but Chicago attempted a rally against J.J. Hoover in the eighth. With two on and one out, Bryan Price elected to go to his closer for a five out save and Aroldis Chapman successfully retired the final two hitters of the frame.
Then came the ninth that was started by former Red, Travis Wood, who walked the bases loaded with two outs before James Russell came on in relief. Russell had a chance to escape any kind of damage when Suarez hit a ground ball to Castro, but the Cubs second baseman couldn’t make the play and Jay Bruce came in to score.
That brought up Barnhart who drove in a pair of runs to get the Reds to a comfortable 10-5 lead. Next came something that hadn’t happened since 2013 when Chapman stepped into the batters box. Unlike his only other career at bat, Chapman made contact and once again a fielding blunder by Castro allowed a run to score. Bourgeois gave the final blow with a double down the left field line that easily scored Barnhart and allowed Chapman to score all the way from first for his first ever run scored.
Despite allowing an Addison Russell homer in the bottom of the ninth, Chapman was awarded his 26th save of the season thanks to his work in the eighth inning to finish a 13-6 contest.
The two teams go at it again and may feature more new faces in the game as the active rosters expand to 40 players with September call-ups. Anthony DeSclafani (7-10, 3.84 ERA) goes for his first win since Aug. 4 after losing a heartbreaking 1-0 game on Thursday against the Dodgers. Dan Haren (8-9, 3.90 ERA) will take the mound for a Cubs team that is now 5.5 games back of the Pittsburgh Pirates for a chance to get home field advantage in the one-game Wild Card, a game that has been played at PNC Park the last two seasons. First pitch for Tuesday is set for 8:05 p.m.