Wednesday, July 09, 2014
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Hamilton, Reds rally past Cubs to complete sweep

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[July 09, 2014]  CINCINNATI -- Billy Hamilton isn't just a base-stealer or solely a table-setter at the top of the lineup. When given the opportunity, the Cincinnati Reds center fielder is a run-producer.

"I love those situations," Hamilton said. "I want to be that guy."

Hamilton's broken-bat single in the bottom of the ninth inning drove home the winning run, lifting the Reds to a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the second game of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.

Cincinnati, which won the opener 4-2, completed its first doubleheader sweep since 2009 and crept to within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers.

"I don't know if I've been involved as a manager in a more exciting game," Reds skipper Bryan Price said of his club's rally from a 5-0 deficit in the nightcap. "Just to see the reaction of the players. There were a lot of big moments. When we tied it in the eighth, everybody had a good feeling about that."

In the ninth, pinch hitter Brayan Pena reached base when his pop fly dropped into fair territory between three Cubs defenders. Cincinnati pitcher Mike Leake pinch-ran and later scored the game-winner on Hamilton's hit.
 


In the first game of the twin bill, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce hit a two-run home run and Johnny Cueto allowed two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Logan Ondrusek (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win in the second game. Hector Rondon (1-3) took the loss, failing to retire any of the three batters he faced.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, third baseman Mike Olt and left fielder Chris Coghlan homered off Reds rookie David Holmberg.

Rizzo went 3-for-5 with a double and homer for Chicago (38-51), which lost its fifth consecutive game.

"This one's tough on us all," Rizzo said. "It's not easy to swallow. It is what it is, though."

Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada was effective in his major league debut. In five innings, the 33-year-old allowed an unearned run and five hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

"Wada gave us a nice start," Cubs manager Rich Renteria said. "He threw strikes and kept the ball down in the zone. If I didn't feel like he was out of gas, I would've sent him back out there for the sixth. I felt he gave us a very, very good effort."

Cincinnati (48-42) crept back into the game against the Chicago bullpen.

Hamilton's RBI triple in the seventh off Carlos Villanueva cut the Reds' deficit to 5-4. Bruce laced an RBI double off Pedro Strop in the eighth to tie the score.

Holmberg, who started one game last season for the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to being traded to Cincinnati, struggled to find his rhythm Tuesday night.

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Coghlan hit a towering two-run homer in the second inning to put Chicago ahead 2-0. It was his second home run and fourth extra-base hit in the series.

Rizzo led off the third inning with his 19th homer, making the score 3-0. Two batters later, Olt hit a two-run blast, putting the Cubs ahead 5-0.

Holmberg allowed five runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings.

"He wasn't real sharp," Price said. "We all know organizationally that he's a better pitcher than his line score today."

Once Holmberg exited, the Cincinnati bullpen shut the door.

Three Reds relievers combined for 6 1/3 shutout innings, and shortstop Zack Cozart turned a defensive gem into a force play to end the eighth while the Reds' offense chipped away at the lead.

"We stopped scoring after we got the five-run lead," Renteria said. "You'd hope we added on, but they kept plugging away and found a way to get it done."

NOTES: 3B Todd Frazier will participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby, the eighth Reds player to do so and first since Ken Griffey Jr. in 2000. "He has the ability to win the thing. I wouldn't be surprised," Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. ... The Cubs recalled LHP Tsuyoshi Wada from Triple-A Iowa to start the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader. Wada is the 18th Cubs pitcher to make his major league debut since 2000. ... Reds RF Jay Bruce has 50 career home runs against left-handed pitchers in the past five seasons, the most in the majors. ... Cubs manager Rich Renteria wants everyone to move on from the Saturday trade that sent RHP Jeff Samardzija to Oakland. "As quickly as everybody can put that to bed, the only thing we can do is continue to play good baseball and give ourselves a chance," Renteria said. "The furthest thing from our minds is the trade. We can't change it." ... Bruce made his second career start at first base Tuesday night.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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