Quintana, Cubs endure frustrating ballgame, come up short to Reds


by - Senior Writer -
Jose Quintana was not done any favors by the Cubs' lack of offensive production. (Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
Jose Quintana was not done any favors by the Cubs' lack of offensive production. (Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Facing off for the final time this year, the Chicago Cubs (87-62) and the Cincinnati Reds (64-86) capped off a low-scoring series in fitting fashion. In a contest that featured just three total runs, the Cubs left 11 runners stranded and came up short to the Reds in the finale of a three-game set that featured just nine total runs.

The Reds won 2-1 on Sunday by way of two solo jacks. All four of Cincinnati's runs in the series at Wrigley Field came via solo homers. Both of the Reds' dingers on Sunday were of the leadoff variety. The first long ball led off the ballgame, with Scott Schebler going yard off Cubs hurler Jose Quintana in the opening at-bat of the contest. Then, in the top of the third, Phillip Ervin led off with a home run to put the Reds up 2-0.

Quintana, who received the loss to drop to 13-10, pitched five innings of five-hit ball. Not helping Quintana's cause was a troublesome first inning that saw the left-hander throw 28 pitches and barely escape a bases-loaded jam that came to fruition after Schebler's jack. In the fourth, more trouble commenced for Quintana after a leadoff homer, but shortstop Addison Russell, who committed two flagrant throwing errors on routine plays, was to blame. The Reds never managed to produce with runners on base, though, but the two round-trippers were sufficient enough to provide them with a win.

The Cubs advanced five players into scoring position on the afternoon but brought just one of them in to score. A close call on a screamer hit up the first-base line that did not go the Cubs' way prevented Chicago from potentially tying the game in the bottom of the fourth. With runners on the corners and two outs, catcher Victor Caratini smacked a liner that was ruled foul by the first-base umpire, although it looked like it might have just passed over the top of the bag. Caratini went on to pop out and end the inning.

In the fifth frame, the Cubs pushed their sole run of the day across. Russell drew a one-out walk and then reached third base on a double off the wall in center field that was hit by pinch hitter Willson Contreras. Contreras thought that the towering shot was gone and lingered near the batter's box to eyeball what he assumed was a home run. However, Contreras was forced to hustle to second base for a double after the baseball bounced off the ivy-covered wall.

Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. plated Russell with a sacrifice fly after that, with Contreras taking third base on the play. Next, Anthony Rizzo got walked to place men on first and third with two outs. Both runners were stranded, though, when Ian Happ grounded out. Chicago again left a pair of runners exiled on the basepaths in the seventh inning. A wild pitch advanced the base runners to second and third, but Rizzo followed that up with an inning-ending strikeout. Irked with himself, Rizzo threw his bat and helmet into the ground, which basically summed up the frustrating outing for the Cubs.

Reds pitcher Luis Castillo, who lost his last start against the Cubs, performed well on the bump. Improving to 10-12 with the win, Castillo gave up just one run on four hits in 6.2 innings pitched. Cincinnati closer Raisel Iglesias, who sat the Cubs down in order in the ninth, picked up his 27th save. Despite missing out on a chance at a sweep by losing 2-1 on Sunday, the Cubs won the season series versus the Reds by a tally of 11-8.

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