Not that long ago http://www.officialstarsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-brett-ritchie-jersey , the Chicago Cubs probably viewed a series against the Cincinnati Reds as a near-guaranteed way to pick up some quick victories and gain some ground in the National League Central standings.
Those days have changed. And so is the Cubs-Reds rivalry.
The Cubs couldn’t hold a multi-run lead for the second straight night, and the Reds won their fifth in a row and eighth in 10 games — quite a run for a team that played .250 ball for the first month-plus of the season — by rallying for a 6-3 victory on Friday night.
Now, the Cubs are expected to ask their bullpen to carry them through the third game of the four-game series Saturday at Great American Ball Park — a series that isn’t going much like most of those Cubs-Reds matchups for the last four seasons.
Going into the series, the Cubs were 43-19 against the Reds since 2015, but the Reds are playing much differently now than they did when they were 8-27 on May 7. They’re 4-0 on their current homestand, even though they still remain well below .500 at 30-45.
“Even when we were losing, they (his veteran players) felt like, ‘We’re a good ballclub, we’re going to get our share (of wins),'” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “(When) we’re on a roll like this, they feel like we’re just going to keep going with it.”
Eugenio Suarez lifted his average to .304 by going 3-for-4 with a go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning off Jose Quintana (6-6) and Joey Votto had two hits and an RBI. Quintana gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings.
“We’re playing really good baseball,” Suarez said. “We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing — and keep winning. If we play like this, something good is going to happen.”
The Cubs scored three times against Reds starter Luis Castillo (5-8) in 5 2/3 innings — Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run homer in the fourth — but former Cleveland Indians pitcher Kyle Crockett pitched out of a two-on jam in the sixth in his Reds debut.
The Cubs managed only four hits in the game Dan Hamhuis Jersey Kids , David Hernandez pitched two scoreless innings and Raisel Iglesias finished in the ninth for his 12th save.
The Cincinnati bullpen has pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the series so far.
“That was one of the cleaner games we’re played — offensively, defensively, we ran the bases well … and got timely hits,” Riggleman said. “When you do that, you’re probably going to win.”
Now, the Reds have the improving Anthony DeSclafani (2-1) pitching Saturday. The right-hander missed the first two months of the season with an oblique injury after sitting out all of last season with an elbow injury, but he has won his last two starts while lowering his ERA from 7.60 to 4.20.
He’s 2-2 in seven career starts against the Cubs, and he handles Chicago cleanup hitter Anthony Rizzo (2-for-20, .100) especially well.
It’s expected to be a bullpen game for the Cubs, with former Reds pitcher Luke Farrell (2-2) making his first start of the season and only the second of his major league career. The longest he has pitched this season was five shutout relief innings during the Cubs’ 7-1, 14-inning victory over the New York Mets on June 2.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon stayed with his recent experiment of using slugger Kris Bryant as a leadoff hitter — he was 9-for-24 (.375) with three RBIs in that spot going into the game — but he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
“He gets on base a lot, he’s possibly one of the best baserunners on the team,” Maddon told reporters. “It’s one of those things — preconceived notions — that you get hung up on. But I like what he’s doing. When the bottom of the order has been productive Devin Shore Jersey , there’s a potential for a lot of baserunners in the one-hole.”
Only there wasn’t any such potential Friday as the Cubs’ No. 7-8-9 batters were a combined 0-for-9. It also didn’t help that Rizzo went 0-for-4 and stranded three runners.
And, now, suddenly the Cubs-Reds rivalry isn’t what it used to be.
Joe Musgrove had quite the homecoming at Petco Park.
Pitching in front of at least 75 friends and family members, the right-hander tossed seven shutout innings against his hometown team and Jody Mercer homered to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-3 victory over the sloppy San Diego Padres on Friday night.
Musgrove (3-3), a 2011 graduate of Grossmont High in suburban El Cajon, was facing the Padres for the first time in his three-year big league career. He allowed seven singles while striking out five and walking two.
He had plenty of support as he got into and out of trouble in the seventh. The Padres had runners on first and third after hitting consecutive singles to open the inning but Musgrove retired the side, including inducing Manuel Margot to hit into an inning-ending double play.
”It was incredible,” Musgrove said. ”They were the ones who really pushed me through that last inning. I got first and third and no one out and all I could think about was all the people that are here watching me and how I’d love to get out of this and put on a little bit of a show for them. It was really cool. It was special.”
Musgrove did his best to not get distracted.
”Out of the gate when I’m out warming up, there’s people screaming right and left and every time I took a step I’m getting called from different directions,” he said. ”I was trying to block it out for the most part but I was also trying to acknowledge the people who were here. Throwing my bullpen there’s 50 of my friends standing right above the catcher hollering and stuff. I’ve always done well in front of my family and friends and that’s something that takes me to that next level.”
He had dinner at his parents’ house on Thursday night and planned to go out with them after the game, as well as have a local beer that’s named after the late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
”Tonight was really special for me,” he said. ”It’s a night I’ll never forget.”
Musgrove was relieved by Steven Brault, a 2010 Grossmont grad. Brault had a short night Womens Esa Lindell Jersey , allowing two runs on two hits while getting just one out in the eighth.
”It was cool,” Brault said. ”Felt good coming in, felt confident. Some things didn’t go my way, and that happens. Overall the experience is something that is priceless. Something I never knew I’d actually get to have.”
Brault said it was ”pretty weird” to have two guys from the same high school pitch consecutively against their hometown team.
”If you told us six years ago, seven years ago, that that would happen, we’d probably both go, `That’s ridiculous,”’ he said. ”Just for it to actually happen, and for us to get a win out of it, and Joe pitched so well tonight, it was just awesome to see. It was cool.”
Felipe Vazquez got the last two outs for his 16th save.
The Pirates won for the third time in nine games and the Padres lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
While Musgrove dominated, the Pirates piled on against rookie lefty Eric Lauer (3-5) and the Padres. The Pirates scored an unearned run in the first inning on two singles and Austin Hedges’ passed ball Jamie Benn Jersey , and added four runs, including two unearned, in the third. Hedges and shortstop Freddy Galvis each had a throwing error. Gregory Polanco hit a two-run double and was thrown out to end the inning trying to stretch it into a triple. Josh Bell hit an RBI triple and Elias Diaz drove in a run on a fielder’s choice.
Mercer homered to center field leading off the fourth to make it 6-0. It was his fifth.
Lauer allowed six runs, three earned, on nine hits in five innings, struck out three and walked none.
Padres manager Andy Green was ejected before the top of the fourth inning by plate umpire Angel Hernandez. Green apparently was unhappy about a balk call against Lauer while trying to pick off Polanco in the second. The Pirates did not score that inning.
”We felt very strongly that it wasn’t,” Green said. ”That was not the story of the baseball game by any stretch. I don’t think we were very clean early in the game. We did what we’ve done very recently which is show a lot of fight late. It was just a little too late.”
Pirates: Placed RHP Chad Kuhl on the 10-day disabled list with a right forearm strain.
Padres: Green said OF Franchy Cordero is leaning toward having surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (6-5, 4.03), a 2010 graduate of San Diego’s Rancho Bernardo High, is scheduled to start the middle game of the series. He’s made one career start against the Padres, giving up four runs in six innings and getting a no-decision in an 8-5 Pirates loss at Pittsburgh on May 20.
Padres: LHP Joey Lucchesi (3-3, 3.57) is scheduled to make his third start since returning from a DL stint that lasted just more than a month.