Rising Reds beat Cubs 3-2 for sixth straight win

Rising Reds beat Cubs 3-2 for sixth straight win Originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

CINCINNATI (AP) — Nick Lodolo allowed one run in six innings, Tyler Stephenson hit a two-run double and the upstart Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Friday night for their sixth straight victory.

The Reds have won 11 of 14 games and are tied with the Cubs for second place in the NL Central standings (both 31-33). Chicago, meanwhile, has lost 11 of 15 games. The Brewers lead the division.

Elly De La Cruz's speed and a wild pitch led to two crucial runs for the Reds in the fourth inning.

After De La Cruz received a walk, Cubs starter Justin Steele fielded him at first, but the Reds shortstop slipped safely before Michael Busch threw him to second base.

“(Steele) did a phenomenal job of holding him off for three or four throws,” Busch said. “It's just a play you want to make.”

Spencer Steer reached first base on a strikeout/wild pitch when a slider from Steele bounced under Miguel Amaya's glove and put runners on first and third before Stephenson extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games with a double to give the Reds a 2-0 lead.

The official scorekeeper initially ruled it a passed ball by Amaya, but later changed the decision to a wild pitch.

“He's such a good kid and such a good player behind the plate,” Steele said of Amaya. “I told him it's no big deal. It's baseball. These things happen. It's probably the last time something like this happens.”

The Cubs had the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth inning, but Cody Bellinger got to third base on the first pitch from Lodolo (6-2). Bellinger came into the game with a .333 batting average against left-handed pitchers but was 0 for 4 against Lodolo and Justin Wilson.

“Nick pitched great,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It was a good start for him against a good lineup. He had a good curveball. He got out of a tough situation when all the bases were loaded and Bellinger was at bat.”

Blake Dunn scored his first major league hit with a double and then scored on a single by Stuart Fairchild in the fifth inning to make it 3-0.

“I was pushing hard right from the start,” Dunn said. “I knew I had a chance to hit a double, and as I turned around the base, I lifted my head and saw he had just gotten to the ball. That's how we score a lot of runs, by being aggressive.”

Steele, making his eighth start for the Cubs since being released from the injured list, struck out the first 10 batters he faced before allowing a walk to De La Cruz in the fourth inning.

Steele (0-3) pitched seven innings, allowing three runs and five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

“He pitched beautifully,” said Cubs manager Craig Counsell. “It was a well-pitched game, and when you get off to a start like that, you obviously hope to win.”

Dansby Swanson's solo home run made the score 3-1 in the sixth inning. It was the only run Lodolo allowed. He struck out seven times and allowed four hits.

Busch walked and scored on Amaya's double in the ninth inning, but Alexis Díaz struck out Patrick Wisdom for his 13th save.


Cubs: 2B Nico Hoerner was removed from the lineup because he was still in pain after a blow to his right hand Thursday night. X-rays were inconclusive and Hoerner will undergo further tests. … LHP Jordan Wicks was activated from the injured list and moved to the bullpen.

Reds: LHP Brandon Williamson (left shoulder injury) was brought back from a rehab assignment due to lingering shoulder soreness. He will sit out at least seven days and then be re-evaluated.


Reds left-hander Andrew Abbott (4-5, 3.39) will face Cubs right-hander Ben Brown (1-2, 3.33) on Saturday.

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