Reds Hold Off Cubs to Extend Winning Streak

Reds Hold Off Cubs to Extend Winning Streak
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

There is something special about this Cincinnati Reds team. The up-and-coming young Reds team won again on Monday night, 7-6 over the Chicago Cubs. Saddled with multiple deficits throughout the night, the Reds kept grinding away and answering the bell.  The bullpen wasn’t perfect, and neither was the offense, but this is a gutsy win nonetheless. They now have a 3-1 record on the season and haven’t lost since they dropped their Opening Day tilt with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Reds 7, Cubs 6

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Connor Overton got the start for the Reds on Monday, and he would face the veteran left-hander Drew Smyly. Things did not start out well for Overton though. He gave up back-to-back hits to Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson to begin the game and immediately found himself in hot water. After striking out the proverbial Reds killer Ian Happ, Overton surrendered a three-run bomb to Cody Bellinger. He would give up two more hits before working out of the inning. The Reds faced a deficit early on, but that didn’t matter, as the bats continued to stay hot. Jonathan India drew a leadoff walk, and Spencer Steer singled and moved India to third in the process.

Wil Myers singled to center to bring in India, and the Reds played station to station. Kevin Newman singled to center with the bases loaded to drive in a pair to tie the game at three. The Reds struck again in the second inning when India gave them a lead with a groundout to Swanson at shortstop.

Falling Behind Again

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Overton lasted only four innings, as Swanson singled and Happ doubled to lead off the fifth. Ian Gibaut came on in relief and got Bellinger to pop out. He surrendered a base hit to Trey Mancini to tie the game, then hit Patrick Wisdom with a pitch. That would be the end of his day, and Alex Young would come in to face Eric Hosmer in a lefty-lefty matchup. Hosmer promptly scorched a double, which scored two and gave the Cubs a 6-4 lead.

Fast forward to the home half of the inning, the Reds were behind the eight ball again. Tyler Stephenson continued his hot-hitting ways by singling up the middle. After Newman flied out, Stuart Fairchild was hit by a pitch, giving the Reds a runner on first and second. After Catcher Luke Maile popped out in foul territory, it looked as if they would squander a golden opportunity to at least tie things up. Cue Jason Vosler. With a 2-1 count, Vosler squared up a fastball and sent it over the left field wall to give the Reds the lead, 7-6.

More Bullpen Heroics

From the end of the fifth inning, the bullpen was on point for the Reds. Fernando Cruz gave up one hit and one walk, but most importantly no runs. He was relieved by Reiver Sanmartin, who inherited two baserunners from Cruz. Sanmartin struck out Hosmer, walked the pinch-hitting Luis Torrens to load the bases and make things interesting, then struck out Yan Gomes to end the inning in style. Buck Farmer pitched a sparkly clean top of the eighth inning and kept the Cubs off the board once again.

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David Bell opted to have Derek Law pitch the ninth for the save. This decision only came because regular closer Alexis Diaz had thrown in Saturday and Sunday’s games. Law got the first two outs rather easily, but if you know the Reds, nothing is ever easy. Wisdom singled to right, and Hosmer ripped a base hit right after him. Things had gotten interesting with the tying and go-ahead runs aboard, but Law was game. Facing the pinch-hitting Miles Mastrobuoni, Law got him to line out to Vosler who was hugging the line at first, giving the Reds the win and notching a save in the process.

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The Reds have now won three games in a row, and have done it with timely hitting and pitching to boot. In 2022, the Reds didn’t win their third game until April 24 and didn’t win three in a row until May. They started off on the right foot here in 2023, and that 3-22 start they suffered last year looks like it was eons ago. The Reds will try to continue their win streak on Tuesday in the second of three games to close out the opening homestand.

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