Addison Russell hit a base clearing double and the Reds failed to hit with runners in scoring position again, to give the Cubs a 5-2 victory on Sunday at Great American Ballpark.
The five runs were the most given up by Anthony DeSclafani (2-1), but only one of those were earned after an error by Todd Frazier allowed the Cubs to strike for four in the fourth inning. Jake Arrieta (3-1) got all the offense he needed that inning as he allowed just two runs over six innings of work.
The scoring started in the second inning for the Cubs (10-7) when Miguel Montero hit an opposite field homer to right to make it 1-0. The fourth started with a walk to the dangerous Anthony Rizzo who then stole second to break up the double play. Rookie sensation Kris Bryant hit a sharp ground ball to Frazier and he watched the ball go right through his glove and into left field. Montero followed with another big hit as he singled home Rizzo to make it 2-0.
Starlin Castro bounced into a fielder’s choice that moved the runners up to second and third, prompting DeSclafani to intentionally walk Chris Coghlan to get to Arrieta. That moved paid off as Arrieta struck out, but Russell, who was just called up this week, drove in all three runners with a double to right center. DeSclafani retired Dexter Fowler to end the big inning.
Arrieta cruised through the first two hitters in the Reds (8-10) half of the fourth, but Frazier atoned for one of the runs his error caused with a solo homer to left. In the fifth Cincinnati was poised for a big inning of its own as Zack Cozart singled, then Brayan Pena and pinch hitter Devin Mesoraco each walked to load the bases. Billy Hamilton bounced into a fielder’s choice that erased Mesoraco from the base paths, but did score Cozart to make it a 5-2 game. Joey Votto walked to reload the bases, but Frazier popped out and Brandon Phillips hit into a force out to end the Reds chances. Since scoring 16 runs on Tuesday, the Reds have gone 1-24 with runners in scoring position including an 0-20 stretch in the rain shortened two games series this weekend.
Cincinnati had two more chances to get things going as Kevin Gregg, Tony Cingrani, and J.J. Hoover combined for four innings of shutout relief. Hamilton tripled in the seventh with two outs, but Votto struck out to end that threat. In the ninth against Hector Rondon, Pena hit an opposite field double, but this time it was Kristopher Negron who struck out to end the chance and the game. With the punch-out, Rondon picked up his fourth save of the season.
Cincinnati now awaits the arrival of the Brewers (4-15) who avoided a sweep with a victory over the Cardinals (12-5) on Sunday. Chicago will return to Wrigley Field for a match-up with a Pirates (11-8) team that has won five straight after their first ever sweep of the Diamondbacks in Arizona. Jason Marquis (1-1, 7.20 ERA) will start after having his original day to pitch moved by the postponing of Saturday’s game. He’ll be opposed by Jimmy Nelson (1-1, 1.35 ERA), who earned a no decision against the Reds last Wednesday when he allowed just one run over eight innings of work. First pitch for Monday’s contest is set for 7:10 p.m,