The Cubs come to Cincinnati having moved into first place after the Dodgers loss last night. Tonight Travis Wood (1-1) faces Anthony DeScalfani (1-2), who beat the Cubs earlier this year. The Cubs get things started quickly as leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler pulls a fastball that rattles around and he pulls into third with a triple.
Starlin Castro hits a 2-2 fly ball to deep center field. Speedy Billy Hamilton makes a great running catch, but has no chance at the runner and the Cubs are on top 1-0. Anthony Rizzo hits a fly ball that Skip Schumaker catches in left for out number two. Kris Bryant gets a one out single but the inning ends with no more runs.
Wood comes out and gets the Reds in order and both pitchers look in top form today. There was not much happening for either side until the Reds tie the game. Todd Frazier doubled and Brayan Pena was hit by a pitch. Billy Hamilton singles in Frazier and Wood settles down and stops the rally, but the game is tied.
The Cubs regain the lead in the sixth inning. Just like earlier today Fowler hits the ball hard again. This time on a 0-2 breaking ball that lands on the warning track. The ball one hops over the wall in right for a ground rule double. Castro strikes out and Rizzo pops up to Brandon Phillips at short, and it looks like the Reds are going to get out of trouble until Bryant hits a shot up the middle for a single to give the Cubs a two run lead.
Bryant catches DeScalfani sleeping and steals second on a close play. This seems to throw the Cincy hurler who grooves a flat slider that Miguel Montero deposited deep into the left field seats for a two run homer and the Cubs are now on top 4-0. Chris Coghlan strikes out and the inning is over at last.
The home team seems to have plenty of fight left in them however; Joey Votto draws a leadoff walk. Eugenio Suarez hits a hard grounder that Castro snags, then turns to fire to Addison Russell at the bag for a sure double play. Unfortunately he drops the ball and gets charged with an error. The runners move to second and third with two outs when Pena hits a towering fly ball that drops into the power alley for a two run double. DeScalfani is lifted for a pinch hitter and the inning is over soon afterward, but the Reds are still in this game, down by just one run after six innings.
The score was unchanged as we head to the bottom of the eighth inning. Travis Wood had been lifted for Jason Motte who had shut the Reds down for one inning but was not able to get through a second inning. Votto walks again and was moved to second by a Suarez sacrifice and was still there with two outs when Todd Frazier hits a massive shot that bounces off the roof of the center field hitting background for a two run homer and suddenly the Reds have a 5-4 lead. Pena grounds out to end the inning and the Cubs now have the difficult task of facing Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. After walking Austin Jackson he gets the next three hitters with ease and the Reds earn a hard fought victory.
Manny Parra came in for DeScalfani for the victory after two solid innings of relief and Chapman gets his second save of the year. The loss was somewhat difficult for Jason Motte, as Todd Frazier came into this game with a .160 average.
Dexter Fowler had to well hit balls for extra bases. Combined with his performance in Pittsburgh it looks like he may finally be coming around. That is good news, as Anthony Rizzo, Austin Jackson and Addison Russell are struggling badly. Russell and Jackson will most likely not start in the next game.
Around the horn:
The first place Houston Astros had great all-around performance against the Oakland A’s. Houston punished the A’s 15-0. They scored all of the runs after the sixth inning. Scott Kazmir tossed a three hit shutout. Carlos Correa hits another homer, giving him 13 in 15 games. He and “Instant Offense” Jose Altuve are both hitting over .400.
The Tigers got a rare win tonight as Miguel Cabrera hits a two run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Tigers beat the Indians 5-3.
Andre Ethier of the Dodgers is having a terrific start. He is hitting .436 with 10 RBI’s in the early going.