The Cubs and the Reds were scoreless until the 7th inning when Jeimer Candelario hit a solo home run. Chicago held onto that 1-0 lead behind a stellar 8-inning performance from Javier Assad, but when the Cubs brought Mark Leiter Jr. into the game for the 9th it was the spark that Cincinnati needed. The home team rallied and score two runs to walk off the Cubs and pick up their second win in a row over Chicago.
The Cincinnati Reds didn’t have the best showing in the first two innings on the bases. Spencer Steer and Elly De La Cruz both had a single erased when they were picked off at first. In the 3rd inning Christian Encarnacion-Strand led off with a double and Noelvi Marte singled on a grounder to third, but the runner couldn’t advance on the play. That turned out to be important as Luke Maile grounded into a double play before Jake Fraley struck out to end the inning and strand a runner at third base.
Chicago tried to get something going in the top of the 4th when they got back-to-back 2-out singles from Seiya Suzuki and Yan Gomes that put runners on the corners. Andrew Abbott locked in and struck out Jeimer Candelario to end inning and keep the game scoreless.
The Reds would threaten again in the bottom of the 4th when Spencer Steer singled and moved to third on a double from Elly De La Cruz. Nick Martini followed with a line drive but it was caught by a leaping Dansby Swanson to save at least one run. Hunter Renfroe would ground out to end the inning as the Reds couldn’t come through with the big hit once again.
Neither team would get much going again until the bottom of the 6th inning when Jake Fraley led off with a single and TJ Friedl followed up with a walk. Spencer Steer then hit a shallow fly into right field and second baseman Nico Hoerner caught the ball over his shoulder and was able to double off Fraley, who for some reason was way off of the bag on the play. With Elly De La Cruz at the plate TJ Friedl was caught stealing to end the inning.
Andrew Abbott returned for the top of the 7th and picked up a ground out to begin the inning. But Jeimer Candelario followed with a solo homer to put the Cubs ahead 1-0. That was the final batter he saw before Buck Farmer entered the game and retired the final two batters of the inning.
Tejay Antone took over in the 8th, marking his first big league appearance in just over two years after having his second Tommy John surgery. He allowed a leadoff single, but got Dansby Swanson to ground into a double play before striking out Ian Happ in his return to the mound.
Sam Moll took over for Antone in the top of the 9th. He would walk Seiya Suzuki with one out. He got a grounder from Yan Gomes to second base where Spencer Steer fielded it and threw to Elly De La Cruz at the bag, but the throw clanked off of his glove and both runners were safe. Moll locked in and got back-to-back ground outs to strand both runners.
Trailing 1-0, the Reds entered the bottom of the 9th with the top of the order due up and the Cubs replaced Javier Assad after eight shutout innings with Mark Leiter Jr. Jake Fraley battled before hitting a double that bounced off of the warning track in right and off of the wall. He was then pinch run for by Harrison Bader, who then stole third base with TJ Friedl at the plate. Friedl would walk on five pitches to bring Spencer Steer to the plate. He was then hit by the second pitch of the at-bat to load the bases for Elly De La Cruz and he came through with a line drive, game-tying single into right field. Nick Martini followed with a pop up for the first out.
The Cubs then went to the bullpen and called Jose Cuas to the mound to face Hunter Renfroe. Cuas got what he was looking for – a hard ground ball – and Dansby Swanson made a diving stop on it, fired to second to get a force out of De La Cruz, but the relay throw to first base was a half-second too late as Renfroe beat it out to end the game as TJ Friedl scored and gave Cincinnati a 2-1 come from behind victory.
Key Moment of the Game
The Cubs taking Javier Assad out of the game with 98 pitches after eight shutout innings. A new pitcher on the mound for the 9th, Mark Leiter Jr. loaded the bases with no outs and gave the Reds all of the confidence they needed that they could get the job done.
Notes worth noting
Jake Fraley is 5-9 with three doubles since returning from the injured list.
Elly De La Cruz had been 4-36 in his previous nine games before picking up three hits on Friday night – including the game tying hit in the bottom of the 9th.
Tejay Antone went 739 days between big league appearances on August 24th, 2021 and Saturday night against Chicago.
Andrew Abbott rebounded from a string of tough starts with 6.1 innings of 1-run baseball.
The win guarantees a series split for the Reds with a chance to win it outright on Sunday afternoon. Cincinnati’s victory pulls them within two games of the Cubs for second place in the division. They are a half-game behind Arizona and San Francisco for the final wild card spot, but both of those teams are still playing games.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds
Sunday September 3rd, 12:10pm ET
Carson Spiers (MLB debut) vs Jameson Taillon (7-9, 5.62ERA)