McCoy: Reds rally past Cubs for 5th straight win

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

What used to be Late Night With David Letterman is now Late Night With The Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds have resurrected their penchant from last season of coming from behind with late-game eruptions.

That’s what happened Thursday night during an 8-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Great American Ball Park.

Down 4-3 in the sixth inning the Reds scored two in the sixth and three in the seventh en route to their fifth straight win and 10th in 13 games.

It began in the sixth when Jake Fraley greeted Cubs startar Javier Assad with a single. Tyler Stephenson was hit by a pitch.

Jacob Hurtubise sacrificed the runners to third and second and Jonathan India singled home the tying run.

Will Benson struck out for the second out and Cubs manager Craig Counsell decided to bring in rookie left-hander Luke Little to face left-handed T.J. Friedl.

Little had not given up a hit in his previous nine appearances, but Friedl rectified that in a hurry, pulling a run-scoring single to right, pushing the Reds ahead, 5-4.

Then came a bizarre seventh inning. The Reds scored three runs on one hit because another Cubs rookie, Porter Hodges, took a walk on the wild side.

After Little walked Jeimer Candelario leading off the inning, Counsell brought in Hodges.

He retired Spencer Steer and Fraley and was one out from completing the inning. Instead, he issued three straight walks to force in a run.

The third walk was to India, who was 4 for 5 with two grand slams and 13 RBI this season with the bases loaded. No homer this time, just a walk to give him 14 RBI with the bases loaded.

Counsell brought in veteran pitcher Kyle Hendricks and Benson dropped his first pitch into right field for a two-run single and an 8-4 lead.

The Cubs are in second place, but are under .500 at 31-32 and at 30-33 the Reds are within a sniff of second place, climbing a notchfrom fifth to fourth and only a half game behind the third-place St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cubs took an early lead against Hunter Greene on a two-run home run in the third by Seiya Suzuki in the second inning. It was Suzuki who hit a grand slam off Greene last week in Chicago when the Cubs won their only game of the three-game series, 7-5.

It is di riguer for somebody celebrating an anniversy to receive a gift. But Elly De La Cruz, playing on the one-year anniversary of his call-up from the minors, gave Greene and the Reds a gift with a first-pitch three-run home run in the third. It came off his bat at 114 miles an hour, the hardest ball hit by a Cincinnati player this year.

De La Cruz said he knew it was his anniversary, a reason to celebrate.

“Yeah, I knew, I saw that before the game and I said, ‘Let’s have some fun, like last year on my first day,’” he said during a post-game interview with Bally Sports Ohio.

His debut last year was against the Los Angeles Dodgers and he doubled, walked and stole a base.

“I’m always ready for the first pitch. If I like the pitch I’m first-pitch swinging,” he said, obviously loving Assad’s 88 miles an hour low and inside cutter.

The 3-2 lead didn’t stand up, though. Greene gave up a two-run home run in the sixth to Christopher Morel to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead.

And that’s when the Reds went to serious work against Assad, Little, Hodge and Hendricks.

Assad had not given up more than five hits in his 12 starts, but the Reds tagged him with seven and the five runs charged to him are the most in his career.

Asked about the atmosphere in the clubhouse, De La Cruz said, “It’s amazing. It’s amazing. It’s a good vibe. We’re getting hot. That’s pretty cool.”

De La Cruz also made another highlight reel defensive play at shortstop after a couple of dazzlers in Colorado earlier in the week.

“I’m so proud, i’m so proud (of his defense),” he said. “I work at it every day, work on the little things. The difference is I work a lot with (coach) Freddy Benavides. He’s helped me a lot.”

The Reds entered the game on a streak of six straight games with hits in double figures, but only had nine Thursday, but six walks and a hit batter aided the cause.

And it’s obvious it was a good day for the Reds when the box score reveals that Reds-killer Ian Happ went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

Greene went 6 2/3 innings and gave up four runs and five hits, walking two and striking out eight to grab his fourth win against two losses.

He was in trouble in the seventh when the Reds’ lead was precarious at 5-4. He walked Mike Tauchman to open the inning. That put him at 111 pitches and manager David Bell decided it was Fernando Cruz time.

Tauchman stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch, putting the tying run 90 feet away. But Cruz struck out the ever-dangerous Suzuki.

And the Reds put it away in their seventh.

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