“Disappointing,” said Reds manager David Bell. “We got off to a good lead. But from the fourth on we weren’t able to shut down their offense.”
Gray threw in his second straight clunker — 3 1/3 innings, five runs, six hits and three walks.
That five-run fourth did in Gray and the Reds.
“That was the inning of the game, the one that knocked us down,” said Gray. "We were in a good spot when we came out after the delay and we jumped them early, put the pressure on them.
“We jumped them and had all the momentum and the fourth inning unraveled on me,” Gray added. “After that we were playing catch-up.”
But they never caught up.
Reds pitchers walked five Cubs and three scored.
On Wednesday, the Reds scored three in the first off Yu Darvish and made it stand for a 3-0 victory.
On Thursday, against a pitcher of lesser repute, Adbert Azolay, the Reds pushed two across in the first inning.
Joey Votto, celebrating his 37th birthday, upped his .071 road batting average with a leadoff single. Nick Castellanos doubled to left and Votto came around to score when left fielder Cameron Maybin kicked the ball around.
Castellanos continued to third on the error and scored on Jesse Winker’s sacrifice fly.
The Reds pushed it to 3-0 in the second when Shogo Akiyama walked and stole second, his fifth theft in five tries this season, and scored on Brian Goodwin’s double.
And that was it until the Reds added a couple of runs in the eighth when they were four runs down.
The rain returned hard in the fourth inning, turning the pitcher’s mound into Mud Hill. And with Gray sliding all over as if on a toboggan the Cubs took advantage.
They scored four runs with only one ball leaving the infield and knocked Gray out of the game.
It began with a walk to Willson Contreras and a one-out infield hit by Maybin. David Bote walked to load the bases.
No. 9 hitter Nico Hoerner hit the only hard ball of the inning, a two-run double up the left center alley.
Ian Happ grounded to deep second and beat it for an infield single and not only did Maybin score from third, but Hoerner hustled home from second for a 4-3 Cubs lead.
Michael Lorenzen replaced Gray and walked Kris Bryant. Runners moved up to third and second on a wild pitch and another run scored on a ground ball to move the Cubs up 5-3. The five runs are the most scored in one inning by the Cubs all season.
The Cubs added two more in the fifth off Lorenzen on a leadoff hustle bloop double to center by Contreras, a triple into the left field corner by Maybin and a run-producing ground ball by Hoerner and it was 7-3.
The Reds put the leadoff batter on base in the fourth, fifth and sixth, but didn’t score. They had two on with two outs in the fifth, but Eugenio Suarez struck out on a pitch in the mud.
They put the first two on in the sixth, but relief pitcher Jason Adam struck out Tyler Stephenson, Goodwin and Jose Garcia.
The Reds put the first two runners on base in the eighth and finally broke through for two runs. But a baserunning blunder by Akiyama cost them a chance for more.
Suarez singled and Freddy Galvis reached on an error by shortstop Javier Baez. With no outs, Akiyama shot one into the left center gap to score a run, but he tried to stretch the single into a double and was thrown out.
Instead of second and third with no outs, there was just a runner on third with one out and he scored on Stephenson’s single to make it 7-5.
The Cubs retrieved one of those runs off Nate Jones in the eighth on a single by Bryant and a two-out double by Contreras. The Cubs catcher had four hits (two doubles, two singles) and a walk.
The Reds lost a game and three players. Mike Moustakas fouled a ball off his foot and left the game. Winker left the game with back stiffness. Pitcher Tyler Thornburg was pulled from the game with elbow issues.
The game ended at 1:35 a.m. Eastern time, meaning a late arrival Friday morning in St. Louis for the Reds before Friday night’s first game of a three-game series.