Chicago Cubs hold off sliding Cincinnati Reds for 7-5 win
By JAY COHEN, AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Long after Kyle Hendricks looked like Kyle Hendricks again and the Chicago Cubs got big hits from Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber, Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price was still upset about the end of the game.
The Cubs wrapped up a 7-5 victory over the Reds on Wednesday night when a replay review overturned a safe call on a close play at first that could have brought the potential tying run to the plate.
“As much as it’s hail to the Cubs — they’re the World Series champs and they’re great — we’re trying to win the ballgame, too,” Price said.
Wade Davis retired the first two batters in the Cincinnati ninth before Joey Votto hit a grounder up the middle that shortstop Addison Russell fielded on the other side of second base. Rizzo had to stretch as far as he could go to bring in Russell’s throw, and Votto was ruled safe by first base umpire Ed Hickox.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon challenged the call, and won.
“It’s awkward, yeah,” Maddon said. “I thought there was one angle that they showed on the board that indicated he was on the bag. Others were not so encouraging.”
Price was surprised by the reversal. He said he talked to Reds general manager Dick Williams about calling Major League Baseball about the play.
“That was not a way to end the ballgame unless they can show us something definitively,” Price said. “If they can’t, shame on them.”
Rizzo and Schwarber each drove in two runs as Chicago improved to 22-5 in its last 27 games against Cincinnati. Hendricks (3-2) pitched six effective innings, Davis got his ninth save and Ben Zobrist reached three times with two hits and a walk in his return to the lineup after missing two games with lower back tightness.
Hendricks improved to 2-1 with a 1.82 ERA in his last five starts after going 1-1 with a 6.19 ERA in his first three outings. It’s a very encouraging sign for the Cubs after the wiry right-hander blossomed into one of their most dependable starters last year.
“That game was one of my better ones, for sure, too, just because I got stronger in those later innings,” he said.
Zack Cozart had three hits and two RBIs in Cincinnati’s season-high fifth straight loss, but Adam Duvall committed a big error in left field and the Reds missed a couple more plays on defense that led to productive innings for the Cubs. Cozart connected for a solo shot in the third that extended his Wrigley Field homer streak to five games, matching a record for any player at the iconic ballpark.
“Honestly, I don’t know what it is. These past two games are the first time since I’ve been playing with the Reds that the wind was blowing out,” Cozart said. “Usually, it’s the opposite. So, that makes it a little easier.”
Cozart put Cincinnati in front with an RBI single in the first, but Chicago went ahead to stay with five runs in the second against Scott Feldman (2-4).
Votto tried for a backhand stab on Schwarber’s hard-hit grounder to first, but it skipped by him for a tiebreaking two-run single. Rizzo’s two-run single went off the glove of second baseman Jose Peraza in shallow right field, helping the Cubs open a 5-1 lead.
Chicago added two unearned runs in the third after Duvall misplayed Miguel Montero’s fly ball for Cincinnati’s NL-low 17th error. Hendricks drove in Zobrist with a well-placed sacrifice bunt, and Jon Jay added an RBI single.
“Defensively, tonight was not our best night,” Price said.
Part of Kris Bryant’s broken bat got stuck in the netting behind home plate after he lined out to Feldman in the first. The teams finished the inning before a worker for the Cubs came out and tried to shake the lumber loose to no avail.
A group of workers finally brought out a long ladder before the start of the third inning and shook it free, earning a big ovation from the crowd of 38,715.
Schwarber, who is showing signs of breaking out of his season-long slump, hit a long home run during batting practice that appeared to damage the Budweiser sign that sits on top of the scoreboard in right field. The lights for the first couple of letters were out for the whole game.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (right elbow surgery) “has been throwing off a mound aggressively,” Price said. He could return late next month. … LHP Tony Cingrani (oblique) threw 15 pitches in a bullpen session. He is scheduled to throw again on Friday.
Cubs: OF Jason Heyward (sore knuckle on his right hand) will begin a rehab assignment with Class A South Bend on Thursday.
Cubs ace Jon Lester (1-2, 3.45 ERA) starts the series finale on Thursday afternoon. Left-hander Amir Garrett (3-2, 4.25 ERA) comes up from Louisville to make his seventh start for the Reds.
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