Another lousy start from Zach Davies. Cubs hitters struck out 13 more times and didn’t produce much offense.
But it was enough, just enough, for a 3-2 win over the Reds Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati. We will take what we can get, and the month of May starts on a high note.
Davies did not start out well. The first two Reds to face him got hits, and thanks in part to an error by David Bote, two runs scored in the first inning. Due to the error, only one of the runs was earned.
The Cubs got one of the runs back in the third. Nico Hoerner doubled and Tony Wolters singled him to third — Wolters’ first hit as a Cub.
Davies then got into the batting action with this nice squeeze bunt [VIDEO].
The Cubs tied the game in the fourth. With two out, Bote doubled and Jason Heyward singled him in [VIDEO].
Davies, once again, completed just four innings with 76 pitches, the fifth straight start he’s failed to get into the fifth inning. The folks at Marquee posted a graphic that showed how much worse Davies does once he gets to the third time through the order. Is it too much to suggest that perhaps Davies’ rotation spot ought to go to Alec Mills and Davies should become a long reliever? Davies appears to be able to throw two or three innings without major incident.
Anyway, he got his ERA under 9.00 (now 8.22) today. So, yay?
Rex Brothers threw a scoreless fifth and then the Cubs got to work offensively again. Javier Baez led off the sixth with a single and Anthony Rizzo walked. One out later, the Reds brought in Sean Doolittle to throw to Heyward, who struck out. Baez stole third while this was happening, and Nico, with his third hit of the day, drove him in [VIDEO].
The Cubs stole three bases on the afternoon and now have 19, which currently leads the National League and ranks third in MLB. Who knew?
Dan Winkler threw a 1-2-3 sixth, Andrew Chafin a scoreless seventh, and then there was a bit of a kerfuffle in the top of the eighth.
Amir Garrett struck out Anthony Rizzo and beat his chest and appeared to say a few words toward the Cubs dugout, which emptied [VIDEO].
Javy looked like he wanted a piece of Garrett. Garrett was pretty hot-tempered. No one was hurt or ejected, and the game continued:
Amir Garrett was pretty hype after striking out Anthony Rizzo. Javy Báez, who usually plays peacemaker during these instances, took exception to Garrett and hopped over the rail with a "Let's go" gesture. Chaos ensued. https://t.co/wJVCxXROSR— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) May 1, 2021
FYI: Garrett was celebrating the K, but also jawing at Rizzo after the strikeout. Javy wasn't mad at Garrett for celebrating, but defending Rizzo who was walking away with Garrett barking at him. That is all.— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) May 1, 2021
Craig Kimbrel then gave us all heart failure when he allowed solid hits to the first two Reds in the ninth. But then he struck out Alex Blandino and Tyler Naquin — both looking — and got former Cub Nick Castellanos to ground to second to end it, and the Cubs had a hard-fought victory and evened up the series at one win each.
That’s the fifth save of the season for Kimbrel, who still has not allowed a run this season, and has struck out 17 of the 42 hitters he’s faced while allowing just nine baserunners in 11 innings (0.818 WHIP).
The Cubs go for the series win Sunday afternoon at GABP in the final game of the road trip. Trevor Williams will start for the Cubs and Tyler Mahle gets the call for the Reds. Game time is 12:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.