CHICAGO (AP) — The improving Cincinnati Reds’ pitching staff cooled off the previously surging Chicago Cubs’ offense.
José Iglesias had an RBI double in the 10th inning and five Cincinnati pitchers combined for a four-hitter as the Reds recorded their second straight win over playoff-contending Chicago 3-2 on Wednesday night.
The Reds won 4-2 on Tuesday night. The Cubs had won five straight before that, outscoring the opponents 59-18 during that stretch.
“We believe our team is at our best when we play the best teams,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “It’s nothing more than that — we can play with those teams.”
The Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers trail the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals by three games. Chicago and Milwaukee are tied for the second NL wild-card spot, 1½ games behind the Washington Nationals, who hold the first wild card.
Chicago opens a four-game series against St. Louis on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.
“We all know what’s in front of us,” Cubs starter Jon Lester said. “We’ve got to play good baseball this weekend, and hopefully we can do that.”
With two outs and none on in the top of the 10th, Cincinnati’s Aristides Aquino started the winning rally against James Norwood (0-1) with a single to left. After Aquino advanced on a wild pitch, Josh VanMeter walked, putting runners on first and second. Iglesias then doubled to right to score Aquino with the go-ahead run.
Amir Garrett (5-3) struck out Kyle Schwarber to end the ninth and Raisel Iglesias worked around a one-out double in the 10th for his 33rd save. Nico Hoerner lined out to right to end it.
The Reds finished with an 11-8 record against the Cubs this season.
Reds slugger Eugenio Suárez hit his 48th homer, one behind Pete Alonso of the New York Mets for the major league lead. The total is the most ever by a Venezuelan player, breaking the previous mark of 47 by Andrés Galarraga.
Suárez also tied the NL record for homers by a third baseman. Mike Schmidt of the Phillies (1980) and Adrián Beltré of the Dodgers (2004) are the others reach the mark.
Cincinnati starter Tyler Mahle allowed just one run on one hit in six innings.
Lester allowed one run on six hits in five-plus innings.
Suárez’s solo shot in the fourth inning gave the Reds a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs tied it in the bottom half of the inning. Nicholas Castellanos led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Schwarber.
Cincinnati took a 2-1 lead in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Alex Blandino before Willson Contreras tied it with a two-out solo blast, which came on an 0-2 pitch from reliever Robert Stephenson in the bottom of the inning.
Suárez was presented with a huge 9-liter bottle of champagne by the Reds in the clubhouse. He and his teammates drank from it to celebrate his Venezuelan homer record.
“This is absolutely amazing,” he said. “I appreciate all my teammates and all of Cincinnati.”
The Cubs conclude their final homestand with a four-game set against the Cardinals starting Thursday night. The teams then play three games in St. Louis next weekend.
“When you look at that schedule at the beginning of the season, you hope you have an eight-game lead by the time this occurs,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “But then you get in the position we’re in, you’re thankful that you have to play them that many times.”
Reds: C/INF Kyle Farmer (strained left oblique) was activated from the 10-day IL before the game. ... ING Freddy Galvis missed his fourth straight game with left knee soreness.
Cubs: Closer Craig Kimbrel (right elbow inflammation) threw with the rest of the relievers before the game. He’s likely to be activated from the 10-day IL on Thursday or Friday. ... INF Addison Russell (concussion) is still in the concussion protocol, but worked out on the field for the first time since being hit in the head Sept. 8.
Reds: Ace Luis Castillo (15-6, 3.22 ERA) faces Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom (9-8, 2.61) Friday night in the opener of a three-game home series against the Mets.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (11-9, 3.26 ERA) starts the opener of the St. Louis series Thursday night with RHP Jack Flaherty (10-8, 3.05) going for Cardinals. Hendricks has a 1.75 ERA in 13 home starts, while Flaherty is 6-2 with a 0.90 ERA in his last nine starts.
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