The Cubs got some good pitching Tuesday night — but not quite good enough.
The Cubs got some good hitting Tuesday night — but came up just a little short.
All of that, unfortunately, added up to a 4-3 loss to the Reds, ending the team’s seven-game winning streak. Unlike a lot of the losses during the 12-game losing streak in August (and the 11-game streak in June and July), this one didn’t feel terrible. The other team got a couple of breaks and the Cubs just couldn’t push a tying run across in the late innings.
It didn’t start out that way. Adrian Sampson served up solo homers to Jonathan India and Nick Castellanos in the first inning and at that point this seemed as if it would be another one of those “uh-oh” games. But Sampson settled down and allowed just four more hits after that and only two runners past first base. All told, his five-inning, two-run outing wasn’t too bad.
The Cubs got one of those two runs back on a solo homer of their own, by Willson Contreras in the third [VIDEO].
The Reds got some help from their defense. Kyle Farmer made this nice catch [VIDEO] on a line drive by Patrick Wisdom in the fourth.
In the sixth with the score 2-1 and Ian Happ on first with two out, Wisdom doubled to left-center [VIDEO].
Happ would have scored easily, but the ball got stuck in the ivy, leaving runners on second and third. Matt Duffy hit a comebacker to end the inning.
Meanwhile, Trevor Megill was keeping the game close. Yes, Megill, who has had some rough outings, recorded six outs on just 19 pitches (16 strikes) and touched 97 on the Wrigley pitch speed meter. It would be great if Megill could turn into a useful middle reliever.
Unfortunately, the next Cubs reliever, Manuel Rodriguez, didn’t have such a good game. He allowed two runs on three hits in the top of the eighth, making it a 4-1 game.
Rafael Ortega batted for Rodriguez leading off the bottom of the eighth and got one of those runs back right away [VIDEO].
One out later, Farmer flashed some glove on this popup by Frank Schwindel [VIDEO].
That was an important play, because the next hitter, Happ, also sent a baseball into the bleachers [VIDEO].
The homer, Happ’s 20th of the season, brought the Cubs to within one at 4-3. It was also Happ’s third hit of the evening and he’s continued being a hot hitter:
Ian Happ has 8 multi-hit games in his last 23 games, including a three-hit night vs. Reds. In his first 104 games, Happ produced 6 multi-hit games. #Cubs— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) September 8, 2021
Dillon Maples and Michael Rucker threw a scoreless ninth, though not before Maples put runners on via a single and walk.
With two out in the bottom of the ninth, Alfonso Rivas singled and Michael Hermosillo ran for him. But Sergio Alcántara grounded out and the winning streak was over.
This one didn’t feel too bad; the Cubs had their chances and a ball stuck in the ivy and good defense from the other team were the main culprits keeping them from victory.
The Cubs still have a chance for a series win over the Reds. The teams will play the rubber match of the series Wednesday evening at Wrigley Field. Alec Mills will start for the Cubs and Vladimir Gutierrez is the scheduled starter for the Reds. Game time is again 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.