Soler homers twice, Cubs top Reds in 10 innings
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Arismendy Alcantara picked an opportune time to end his cold spell to start the season.
Jorge Soler helped give him that chance.
Alcantara's walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted the Chicago Cubs to a 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three- game set.
Anthony Rizzo and Chris Coghlan sandwiched walks around a single by Soler, who tied the game in the eighth with his second two-run homer of the game, to load the bases in the 10th.
Manny Parra (0-1), who threw just seven of his 18 pitches for strikes, was then replaced by Burke Badenhop. Starlin Castro grounded into a forceout at the plate on his bouncer to short, but Alcantara squirted a grounder through the middle with the infield in to bring home Rizzo.
It was his first hit of the season after being hitless in his first 21 plate appearances.
The Reds squandered a Joey Votto leadoff double in the top of the 10th. Todd Frazier rolled one back to Hector Rondon (1-0), who went to third to nab Votto. Brandon Phillips then lined out to left and Jay Bruce struck out after a Marlon Byrd single to end the top of the inning.
Coghlan smacked a solo shot among his three hits and two runs scored for the Cubs, who won their third straight.
Jon Lester struggled again in his second start with Chicago. He surrendered six runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts over six innings.
"A lot of work to be done," Lester said. "Jorge picking me up, Mendy picking me up."
Phillips finished with four hits and a pair of runs scored, while Byrd and Bruce each posted two hits, two RBI and a run scored for Cincinnati, which dropped its third straight following a 4-0 start.
The game was tied 3-3 after five innings before the Reds plated three against Lester in the sixth.
Phillips hit a one-out single and came home when Byrd ripped a double down the left-field line. Byrd scored on Bruce's two-bagger to right and runners were on the corners on a Brayan Pena looping base hit to right. Bruce crossed the plate when Zack Cozart bounced one to shortstop and beat Alcantara's wide throw to first for a 6-3 Cincinnati advantage.
Chicago, though, battled back with a run in the bottom of the sixth and two more in the eighth to knot the contest again.
Coghlan launched a leadoff shot deep over the wall in right to pull Chicago within 6-4 in the home half and in the eighth, Soler pounded his two- run shot into the hedges in center.
The Cubs put the potential game-winning run at second with one out in the ninth, but Byrd charged a sharply hit liner off the bat of Welington Castillo in left and made a diving grab to his left. Dexter Fowler then grounded out to first, ending the threat.
Earlier, both teams plated a trio of runs in the opening frame.
Todd Frazier doubled Votto home after he smacked a one-out triple to right. Byrd added an RBI groundout and Bruce a run-scoring single later in the inning.
Soler hit his first two-run blast to left with one out in the home first. Coghlan then doubled and scored on a Castro base hit to left-center.
Reds starter Mike Leake allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk over seven frames.
"Offense did their job ... I didn't do my job early and let them back in it," Leake said.
Heading into his final at-bat, Alcantara was 0-for-16 with six strikeouts and five walks ... Chicago was 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position, while Cincinnati finished 5-for-11.