By HAL McCOY
For close to 48 hours it looked as if Cincinnati Reds pitcher Matt Harvey would be wearing a Milwaukee Brewers uniform.
He was scheduled to start Friday afternoon’s game against the Chicago Cubs, but the Brewers claimed him off revocable waivers, forcing the Reds to made a decision. They could let him go to Milwaukee, giving them his $1.1 million salary, pull him off waivers and try to make a a trade with Milwaukee, or keep him.
A trade with the Brewers couldn’t be made, so the Reds decided to keep him, meaning they have Harvey for the rest of the season.
So, Harvey made his start and pitched extremely well, but the game went into the 10th inning in Wrigley Field and David Bote did it again. His one-out home run in the bottom of the 10th off Raisel Iglesias gave the Cubs a 3-2 victory.
Bote, called up from the minors not long ago, already is a folk hero in and around Wrigleyville. In a recent game against the Washington Nationals, the Cubs trailed 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth and Bote cracked a walk-off grand slam home run for a 4-3 Cubs victory.
Harvey pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up one run and five hits while walking one and striking out six.
Unfortunately for him and the Reds, they ran into a guy making his major league starting debut and was on top of it. Alec Mills, a 26-year-old right hander, held the Reds to one run, three hits, walked one and struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings.
A little more than an hour before game’s start, the Reds held a media conference call and most expected to hear that Harvey was now with Milwaukee.
Instead, general manager Nick Krall said, “Matt Harvey will not be moved. Our organizational decision was that it made more sense to keep him than move him. We want him on the club the rest of this season.
“He has been a positive influence on our young players and we want to end this season on a good not and carry the momentum into next season,” Krall added. “We did not end on a good note last season and started this season 3-and-18. He is a solid guy and can help us end this season on a positive note.”
Harvey certainly did his part Friday. He retired the seven Cubs, five on strikeouts. Opposing pitcher Alex Mills singled for the first hit, his first major-league hit.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the second when Mason Williams hit a ball that was first ruled a home run, but on review was ruled that the ball hit the top of a railing and bounced back on the field for a double. Phillip Ervin then doubled him home.
Those were two of the three hits the Reds squeezed out of Mills. Ervin didn’t score after his no-out double as Mills struck out Brandon Dixon and Harvey to end the inning.
Mills retired 13 straight through two outs in the sixth when Chicago left field Kyle Schwarber was charged with an error on Scott Gennett’s fly ball. Mills issued his first walk of the game to Eugenio Suarez and was replaced by Randy Rosario and he struck out Mason Williams.
The Cubs tied the game, 1-1, in the sixth when four of the first five batters singled, with Javier Baez driving a run-scoring single to right.
The bases were loaded with one out and Harvey was taken down for Cody Reed and he displayed some magic. He started a pitcher-to catcher-to first base inning-ending double play.
Jared Hughes started the eighth and he struck out Bote and Albert Almora Jr. But his first pitch to Daniel Murphy was lined into the right field bleachers, his first home run for the Cubs since they acquired him earlier this week from Washington.
That made it 2-1 for the Cubs and hard-throwing Pedro Strop came in to get a save, a save he didn’t get. Eugenio Suarez led the ninth with his 29th home run, a 382-foot blast into the left center bleachers to tie it, 2-2.
Raisel Iglesias arrived in the 10th for the Reds and retired catcher Wilson Contreras when he tried to bunt for a hit. Then came Bote, who had struck out in his previous at bat after entering the game as part of a double switch.
And with one swing he ruined the day for the Reds, who have lost three straight and are now 19 games behind the division-leading Cubs in the National League Central.