By Hal McCoy
When Scott Feldman trudged to the Wrigley Field mound Wednesday night, the Chicago Cubs were the only major league baseball team on the planet he had not faced.
And now he wishes it was still that way.
Because of his own wildness and some suspect work by the usually well-oiled Cincinnati Reds defense, Feldman lasted only 2 2/3 innings and absorbed a 7-5 defeat.
IT WAS CINCINNATI’S FIFTH straight loss and dropped them below .500 (19-20) and into fourth place in the National League Central.
The Reds gave Feldman a 1-0 lead in the first and he pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the first.
But it took him 68 pitches to cover the second and third innings during which he gave up five in the second and two in the third.
HIS PROBLEM IN THE SECOND began with a walk to Ian Happ. Ben Zobrist singled to right, sending Happ to third. Happ scored on a fielder’s choice ground ball, tying it, 1-1.
Feldman walked Miguel Montero but hit Jon Jay with a pitch. He struck out opposing pitching Kyle Hendricks for the second out.
But Middletown native Schwarber hit one hard at first baseman Joey Votto and it skipped past him (a ball he could have blocked) for a two-run single.
He issued his third walk of the inning to Kris Bryant. Rizzo hit one hard to the grass in short right field, a catchable ball. But it glanced off Jose Peraza’s glove for another two-run single and a 5-1 Cubs lead.
Zack Cozart homered leading off the third, the fifth straight game in which he has hit a home run in Wrigley Field.
THE CUBS SCORED TWO MORE runs in the third. Ben Zobrist doubled and with one out Montero hit a fly ball to deep left. Adam Duvall dropped it for an error, putting runners on third and second.
Then came the Joe Maddon Factor. With pitcher Hendricks batting and a 3-and-2 count, manager Maddon brazenly and daringly flashed the bunt sign and Hendricks got it down, scoring Zobrist. Jay followed with a single to make it 7-2.
Then came the highlight of the night for the Reds. Austin Brice replaced Feldman and retired seven straight, six on ground balls and one via strikeout.
THE REDS MADE IT A game in the seventh, scoring three runs when they had two outs and nobody on.
Cozart singled and Votto walked (he has reached base in 20 straight games). Adam Duvall, who had not driven in a run during the first seven games of this trip, singled to left for a run. Suarez, who also hadn’t driven in a run on the trip, doubled for two runs, cutting it to 7-5.
But Scott Schebler grounded out and the final seven Reds went down in order.
EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS a 25 miles an hour wind blowing out, the Reds bullpen of Austin Brice, Drew Storen, Wandy Peralta and Raisel Iglesias turned the spigot off from the third through the eighth — no runs, one hit.
Iglesias did walk the bases loaded with one out in the eighth but struck out Jon Jay and Kyle Schwarber to slink out of it.
But the mountain of a 7-2 deficit after two innings was too high to climb, although the Reds made some noises with their three runs in the seventh.
And the game ended strangely with Cubs closer Wade Davis on the mound. Billy Hamilton struck out on a bad pitch on 3-and-2 and Zack Cozart popped up.
Joey Votto grounded up the middle and shortstop Addison Russell’s throw was wide, forcing first baseman Anthony Rizzo to stretch full out. Originally, Votto was called safe because it appeared Rizzo’s foot may not have been on the bag. The Cubs challenged and the replay folks in New York reversed the call.
Out. Game over.
After the game, Reds manager Bryan Price told Fox Sports Ohio that he planned to call general manager Dick Williams to have him check with MLB in New York to see if the replay crew had definitive video evidence that Rizzo kept his foot on the bag and if they don’t, “I’m going to be really pissed.
And who are the Reds asking to stop the bleeding. They are recalling Amir Garrett from Class AAA Louisville to start the series finale Thursday afternoon.