Assad roughed up as Reds double up Cubs
Katie Stratman - USA Today Sports

Assad roughed up as Reds double up Cubs

by - Senior Writer -

CINCINNATI — It's almost mind-numbing how inconsistent this Chicago Cubs (31-32) team is. Not only have they not recorded an easy win since May 15, but they haven't won three games in a row since late April, which is inexcusable when you look at some of the players on this team. Coming off a pair of dramatic wins against the Chicago White Sox, many were wondering if that was the moment the Cubs needed to turn their season around.

Standing in their way was the suddenly scorching-hot Cincinnati Reds (30-33), who have won 10 of their last 13 to move into second place in the NL Central. Despite a pair of two-run blasts by the Cubs to give them the lead on multiple occasions, four runs are typically not enough at the Great American Ballpark, as the Reds doubled up the Cubs 8-4.

At some point, you knew that the Cubs starting pitching would start to regress, especially when it comes to Assad and Imanaga. As has been the case in his past few outings, Assad is starting to miss more bats on a consistent basis as he walked two and struck out seven in 5 2/3. However, the contact off him proved to be an issue as he was charged with five runs on seven hits.

Coming off a rough outing in Chicago last weekend, Hunter Greene got back to doing Greene stuff. He picked up eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings and was touched up for those four earned runs off those homers. The first of those homers came in the second inning, when Seiya Suzuki connected for a much-needed souvenir to put the Cubs in front 2-0. Suzuki started his night with a double in his first at-bat as he appears to be getting locked back in at the plate.

That lead by the Cubs didn't last long, as Assad found himself in trouble in the bottom of the third after Will Benson led things off with a single ahead of a walk. Looking to pitch out of trouble as he has done so many times before, Assad fell victim to an Elly-bomb Elly De La Cruz unloaded for a three-run shot to put the Reds in front 3-2. It was a lead they would hold until the sixth inning, as neither team was able to do much over the next two.

In the sixth, it was the Cubs offense getting to Greene again, and it all started with a Cody Bellinger double. A few pitchers later saw Christopher Morel connect for his team-leading 12th blast, and once again, the Cubs were in front 4-3. As was the case when the Cubs took the lead in the third, their lead lasted only a short time as the Reds started to tee off on Assad.

Already with two men on and one out, Jonathan India came through with an RBI single to bring things back to even 4-4. Two batters later saw Luke Little enter the game only to have TJ Friedl turn on an inside heater for an RBI double as the Reds took the lead for good, 5-4. Things only continued to get worse for the Cubs in the bottom half of the seventh when Porter Hodge had his first bad outing since joining the Cubs.

Following two quick outs from Hodge, Hodge proceeded to load the bases with a pair of walks, as his command was spotty at best. He then made it three straights walk to India to keep the bases loaded while bringing in a run to extend the Reds lead to 6-4. Benson capped off what was another three-run inning for Cincinnati with a well-struck single, and just like that, it was the Reds breaking things wide open and leading 8-4.

In desperate need of offense late in the game, the Cubs knew they would have to rally off the back end of the Reds pen and were down to their final three outs with Alexis Diaz set to come in. A leadoff walk to Nico Hoerner was a great start, but they would need more than just one baserunner to have a shot at a comeback.

That lone baserunner to lead off the ninth was the final baserunner of the night for the Cubs as they now fall to 7-13 against the NL Central with an 8-4 loss. The Cubs had five hits in the game, with Suzuki leading the way with two hits and two RBIs. Bellinger, Morel, and Miguel Amaya added the rest of the hits for the Cubs, who will look to even things up on Friday as they send Justin Steele to the mound against Nick Lodolo.

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