Baez scores winning run as Cubs eke out victory against Reds
Javier Baez scored the sole run of the ballgame on a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth. (Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
CHICAGO — For the third game in a row, the Chicago Cubs collected a one-run victory. Topping the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 in a low-scoring affair that featured just four hits apiece for each team, the Cubs benefited from a masterful performance on the hill by starting pitcher Jon Lester. Second baseman Javier Baez scored the winning run for Chicago, converting a leadoff infield single in the bottom of the sixth into the lone score of the ballgame.
Striking out nine opposing batters and allowing just two hits in seven innings of work, Lester was in top form on Saturday. Continuing to make his case for the National League Cy Young Award, Lester picked up a winning decision for the fourth time in his last six starts, improving to 16-6 overall. Reds starting pitcher Cody Reed fared well in his five innings of work, too. Getting taken for just two hits, Reed fanned 10 batters but received a no-decision for his efforts.
Just like in game one of the three-game series, the Reds cost themselves by making a somewhat early pitching change. In the bottom of the sixth, Reds reliever Sal Romano, who replaced Reed on the bump, gave up a leadoff infield hit to Baez, who advanced to second on an ensuing groundout. Following a strikeout, Romano allowed what proved to be an extremely critical RBI single by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, who slapped a base knock between first and second base on a full count to drive home Baez. Contreras went 2-3 on the day and was the only player to attain multiple hits. Romano got handed the loss to drop to 7-11 on the season.
The Reds failed to advance a runner into scoring position after falling down 1-0. The Cubs, who are currently going without a true closer on the active roster, used three different relievers to close out the game in the ninth. Jose Peraza of the Reds garnered a one-out single to spark the first pitching change. After that, veteran Cincinnati slugger Joey Votto nearly hit a go-ahead home run, but the wind blowing in resulted in Votto's towering shot getting caught on the warning track in center field.
Steve Cishek was the final reliever to enter the game, and he wasted no time in accruing his fourth save of the year, as he drew a game-ending groundout on his first pith. With the 1-0 triumph, the Cubs improved to 87-61 while dropping the Reds to 63-86. Chicago will have the opportunity to sweep Cincinnati in the series finale tomorrow afternoon.
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