Joey Votto homered and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as the Cincinnati Reds climbed out of an early 2-0 hole to hand the visiting Chicago Cubs their eighth straight loss, 3-2, on Saturday.
Tyler Naquin also homered for the Reds, who won their third straight and improved to 6-4 on their season-long 11-game homestand.
The suddenly hot Reds bullpen stymied the Cubs for a second straight game and figured prominently in Cincinnati’s third-straight one-run victory.
Despite a highly efficient effort from starter Adbert Alzolay (4-8), who threw only 82 pitches over seven innings, the Cubs couldn’t snap their season-long skid.
Ryan Hendrix (4-1) pitched a scoreless seventh and registered four outs for the win while Heath Hembree retired the Cubs in the ninth for his third save, and second in as many games. Sean Doolittle, Hendrix, Hembree and Josh Osich all contributed during Cincinnati’s four-inning shutout effort by the relief corps.
The Cubs had a golden opportunity to break out on top in the first but Jason Heyward struck out with the bases loaded.
The Cubs scored in the second but needed a passed ball from Tyler Stephenson to do so. Rafael Ortega raced home and beat the tag of Reds starter Tyler Mahle to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Joc Pederson struck out on the next pitch for the third out.
The Cubs made it 2-0 in the third on a long home run from Kris Bryant to the seats in left for his 16th of the season.
The Reds tied the game on solo homers from Votto in the fourth and Naquin in the fifth, with Naquin’s traveling an estimated 426 feet.
The Cubs had a golden opportunity to break the tie in the seventh as Pederson reached on a Votto error and Bryant singled Pederson to third. But Javier Baez popped out to second and Anthony Rizzo bounced into a 3-6-3 inning-ending double play.
The Reds took advantage of their chance in the bottom of the inning when Votto reached on a walk and Stephenson doubled him to third. Following a groundout by Naquin, Eugenio Suarez singled to center to score Votto and put the Reds ahead, 3-2.
–Field Level Media