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Reds blow 3-run lead, fall to Cubs 6-3

The series victory was right there, until it wasn’t.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Luis Castillo continues to be a hammer for the Reds on the mound, and that continued on Sunday afternoon. He kept the Chicago Cubs’ offense at bay for the first 6 innings and was pretty dominant in the process. While his final line doesn’t look quite as good, he put up the exact performance that the Reds needed to win the series yesterday. He ultimately went 6.2 innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits with only 1 walk against 8 strikeouts against a very solid Cubs lineup.

Honorable mentions are due to: Eugenio Suarez, for continue his hot month by going 2 for 3 with a solo home run and a walk; Joey Votto, for doubling in a run to get the scoring started; Aristides Aquino, for going 1 for 3 with a RBI; and Robert Stephenson, for striking out 2 in a scoreless 9th inning.

Key Plays

  • Both Luis Castillo and Cubs’ started Jon Lester were cruising right along in the early part of the game, until the Reds broke through in the bottom of the 3rd. Nick Senzel got things started with a 2-out walk. After Senzel stole 2nd base, Joey Votto smoked a grounder past Anthony Rizzo to drive in Senzel. Eugenio Suarez would then draw a walk, advancing Votto to 2nd. That brought up Aristides Aquino, who smacked a single to center to drive in Votto. Reds led, 2-0.
  • The Reds were able to add on to that lead in the bottom of the 5th. After Nick Senzel and Joey Votto struck out to start the inning, Eugenio Suarez would hit a solo homer to right field and give the Reds a 3-0 lead. The unfortunate part about that is that Joey Votto struck out looking at a pitch that was outside of the strikezone for the 2nd of 3 times in yesterday’s game, possibly taking away a chance at giving the Reds a 4-0 lead at that point.
  • Unfortunately, this is where the good things stop happening for the Reds and the Cubs started getting to Castillo. Jason Heyward led off with a single off the wall in right and then moved to 2nd on a 1-out single by Kris Bryant. After an Anthony Rizzo fly out, the Cubs would finally get on the board with a Javy Baez double to left. A Kyle Schwarber fly out would end the inning with the Reds leading 3-1.
  • The 7th inning is where things really fell apart. Ian Happ doubled to left to lead off and then moved to 3rd on a ground out by Victor Caratini. Happ would score on a ground out by Tony Kemp to cut the lead to 3-2. Jason Heyward would then come up and hit probably the most fortunate single of his life, hitting a ball in front of the plate that bounced high enough to allow him to reach first without a play. This prompted a pitching change, with David Bell opting to bring in Michael Lorenzen. Lorenzen allowed a 2-strike single to Nick Castellanos to put 2 runners on and then hung a slider to Kris Bryant to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead. Lorenzen left without recording an out, and Amir Garrett got the final out of the inning.
  • Ian Happ continued to beat the shit out of the Reds, homering in the top of the 8th to extend the Cubs’ lead to 6-3.
  • The Reds failed to score after the 5th, despite facing the Cubs’ depleted bullpen, and that was all she wrote. Reds lose, 6-3.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • The Reds start another big series today in Washington, as they have 3 games against the Nationals. If they want to make up some ground in the wild card, this week is a big chance, as they follow this series with 4 games against the St. Louis Cardinals. Anthony DeSclafani will get the start tonight opposite the Nationals’ Erick Fedde. Both pitchers sport 4.20 ERA’s. Nice.
  • Tunes.