Surging Reds top Cubs in 11 innings
Chicago, IL – Shin-Soo Choo's two-run single in the 11th inning pushed the Cincinnati Reds past the Chicago Cubs, 6-4, in the middle installment of a three-game NL Central series.
Brandon Phillips filled the box score with three hits, a run scored, an RBI and two steals for the Reds, who have won six of their last seven games and improved to 12-3 against their division rivals this year.
The Cubs came into the game having been shut out in three straight games at home for the first time since 1924, but showed some punch Tuesday behind home runs from Nate Schierholtz, Dioner Navarro and Donnie Murphy.
J.J. Hoover, however, held Chicago scoreless over 2 1/3 innings of relief to pick up the win. Hoover (3-5) has not allowed a run in his last 24 1/3 innings, a span of 21 consecutive appearances.
"I'm just glad we won, our bullpen did a great job again. Hoover did an outstanding job," said Reds manager Dusty Baker.
Eduardo Sanchez (0-1) wasn't nearly as effective out of the bullpen, loading the bases in the 11th with two walks and a botched sacrifice bunt via a Murphy error.
Choo followed with a base hit to right field to bring in Ryan Ludwick and Devin Mesoraco, and even though Sanchez escaped the inning without further damage, Aroldis Chapman sealed the decision with a perfect 11th for his 29th save of the year.
Homer Bailey gave up four runs, all coming on Chicago's three homers, over 6 1/3 innings on the hill. He wound up giving up six hits in total with three walks and five strikeouts.
Chicago's Jeff Samardzija overcame a shaky start to last six innings. He gave up four runs on six hits and four walks while striking out five.
"Consistency is hand-in-hand with efficiency," said Samardzija. "Those things put you in a hole, when you're putting 10 guys on a game when you mix in five or six hits and a few walks, you're putting yourself in a position to battle."
Samardzija was in trouble early and had runners on second and third with one out in the first inning. Phillips singled past a diving Starlin Castro to drive in Choo, and Jay Bruce added to the lead with an RBI groundout.
Schierholtz ended the Cubs' franchise record 33 innings scoreless drought at Wrigley Field in the second frame with a two-run homer to right field.
The momentum didn't last long as the Reds got the runs right back in their next turn, as Joey Votto and Phillips, after pulling off a double steal, scored on a wild pitch and Xavier Paul's fielder's choice, respectively.
Navarro's leadoff blast down the right-field line in the fourth pulled the Cubs within a run, and Murphy opened the seventh with an opposite-field shot to tie it.
Cubs legend Ernie Banks was honored before the game for receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the nation's highest civilian honor ... The Cubs fell to 7-4 in extra-inning games, while the Reds improved to 10-8 past the ninth inning ... Navarro has hit a career-high 10 home runs this year ... Cincinnati has won Bailey's last nine starts against the Cubs ... The Reds have won 14 of their last 15 games at Wrigley Field.