Late runs lift Reds past Cubs

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[August 16, 2017]  CHICAGO -- Billy Hamilton stepped to the plate in the ninth inning on Tuesday night having struck out in two of his three at-bats.

However, with the Cincinnati Reds clinging to a one-run lead and Hamilton facing a two-strike count, the leadoff hitter found a way to come through.

Hamilton delivered a key RBI single, and Luis Castillo threw six shutout innings as the Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Tuesday night.

The Reds, who lost the series opener 15-5 on Monday night, snapped a three-game losing streak.

"I stuck in there and had the confidence to hit with two strikes in that situation. I ended up putting that ball in play, which is what I wanted to do," Hamilton said. "It was a big-time run for us."

Scooter Gennett's eighth-inning sacrifice fly off Cubs reliever Pedro Strop broke a scoreless tie, driving in Joey Votto. In the ninth, Votto walked, reached third on an Adam Duvall single and scored on Hamilton's hit, making it 2-0.

It proved to be the hit that mattered.

The Cubs got within a run in the ninth when Ben Zobrist singled in Kyle Schwarber, who led off the inning with a single. However, with the tying run on third base, Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias struck out Ian Happ to end the game and pick up his 21st save.

"Tonight was a pitcher's duel," said Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward, who was stranded on third when Happ struck out in the ninth. "It's one of those games -- playoff-like game -- we competed, we didn't give either way.

"It is what it is -- I wish it would have been 2-1 our side."

The Reds' offense came through after Castillo kept the Cubs in check. The rookie right-hander struck out seven and allowed just two hits and two walks.

Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks also tossed six-plus shutout innings, allowing five hits and four walks while fanning six.

Michael Lorenzen (7-2) earned the win by throwing a scoreless seventh inning. Wandy Peralta got one out in the eighth, and Iglesias recorded the final five outs.

"(Those were) big pitches," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "(The Cubs) just don't give up ... they make a push.

"They don't run a lot of guys up there that aren't reputable players that don't make you nervous when they're at the plate. They created an opportunity, but we were able to withstand it."

The Cubs loaded the bases in the eighth inning with two outs. After Zobrist and Jon Jay walked to lead off the inning, Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch with two outs. Iglesias struck out Victor Caratini to preserve the one-run lead.

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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) tags out Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton (6) on a pick-off at first base during the fifth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds threatened in the seventh inning when they put runners on second and third with two outs. After a walk to Gennett and a Eugenio Suarez single chased Hendricks, Carl Edwards Jr. struck out the side to keep the game scoreless.

The Cubs appeared on the verge of breaking the scoreless tie in the seventh when Caratini singled and reached third on a single by Albert Almora Jr., who was thrown out trying to reach second on the base hit. But Lorenzen got Heyward to line out to second and Javier Baez to ground out.

"I hit it hard," Heyward said. "I hit it hard."

After the Reds finally broke the ice with Gennett's sacrifice fly, they did just enough to hold off the defending World Series champions.

"Whenever you can win a ballgame at Wrigley Field, it's nice," Gennett said. "It's great energy, a great atmosphere to play in, and overall, it was just a really fun baseball game."

NOTES: Reds C Devin Mesoraco was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday with a fractured left foot after he was hit by a pitch on Monday. Mesoraco returned to Cincinnati to meet with team doctors, and manager Bryan Price said the catcher could be out three to six weeks. OF Phillip Ervin was called up from Triple-A Louisville to fill the roster spot. ... Reds 1B Joey Votto extended his club record of reaching safely at least twice in a game to 20 consecutive games with three walks. ... Cubs SS Addison Russell (foot) ran in the outfield prior to the game as he continues to rehab. Russell said Tuesday he believes he is "moving in the right direction" but does not have a definite timeline to return. ... Cubs 2B Ben Zobrist was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight day with neck stiffness, but he pinch-hit in the eighth inning and stayed in the game.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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