CHICAGO (AP) — As far as Javier Baez is concerned, no deficit is too big for the Chicago Cubs to overcome.
Baez and his teammates showed why he feels that way on Saturday.
Baez homered and had four hits — including a game-tying infield single in the eighth — and the Cubs rallied from a five-run deficit for an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Anthony Rizzo’s RBI groundout capped a four-run eighth inning for Chicago, which has come from behind in each of its last eight wins.
“That’s what we do,” Baez said. “We fight to the end. We’ve been coming back since 2016.”
Eugenio Suarez homered and Billy Hamilton added three hits and three stolen bases for Cincinnati, which had its five-game winning streak against the Cubs snapped.
Randy Rosario (4-0) allowed two hits in 2 1/3 innings to get the win. Brandon Morrow worked the ninth for his 20th save.
The Reds took a 7-4 lead into the eighth, but reliever Amir Garrett — who retired three straight batters in the seventh — walked Victor Caratini and Addison Russell to start the inning. Pinch hitter David Bote then singled to load the bases.
Jared Hughes (2-3) replaced Garrett and Ben Zobrist greeted him with a two-run double to left-center to trim the deficit to 7-6. Baez followed with a comebacker, but Hughes bobbled the ball and then fell down as he picked it up. Baez was credited with an RBI infield hit as Bote scored for a tie at 7.
“It was right there; it hit my glove,” Hughes said. “I think it was a hit, but still, I should have made the play.”
Rizzo then drove in Zobrist with a groundout to second base to put Chicago on top.
“Amir gave us a clean seventh inning, and the wheels fell off in the eighth,” Cincinnati manager Jim Riggleman said.
The five-run deficit was the largest the Cubs have overcome during the eight comeback wins.
“It’s fantastic,” Bote said of Chicago’s string of comebacks. “The quality at-bats the last two weeks have been incredible.”
Suarez’s three-run blast in the third gave the Reds a 5-0 lead.
Chicago moved closer with a pair of runs in the fourth. Caratini drove in the first with a double and then scored on an RBI groundout by Russell.
Cincinnati reclaimed the five-run advantage with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings on RBI singles by Jesse Winker and Joey Votto.
The Cubs made it 7-3 in the bottom of the sixth as Rosario drove in a run with a single for his first major league hit and RBI.
Baez’s 17th homer leading off the seventh trimmed the deficit to three runs.
Reds starter Matt Harvey was in line to win his fourth straight start before the eighth-inning meltdown. The right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) in 5 2/3 innings. He has a 1.88 ERA over his last four starts. “It’s a good sign that I can go out, not feel great, be out of whack and still get somewhat deep in the game and limit the damage,” Harvey said.
Harvey might have completed the sixth without giving up a third run had right fielder Scott Schebler not lost a pop fly by Russell in the sun with one out. It dropped in for a double. Rosario followed with a single to drive in Russell.
Cubs: OF Jason Heyward left the game after taking a foul ball to the groin in the third inning. 3B Kris Bryant (left shoulder inflammation) took batting practice, fielded grounders and ran the bases before the game. Manager Joe Maddon said Bryant will go on a rehab assignment before being activated, although the details haven’t been worked out yet.
LHP Jon Lester (11-2, 2.25 ERA) looks to become the NL’s first 12-game winner on Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. Lester has won seven straight starts. RHP Luis Castillo (5-8, 5.53) pitches for the Reds.