Hendricks pitches, hits Cubs past Reds, 3-1


CINCINNATI — After negotiating a 3-and-3 record against two last place teams on the west coast, Oakland and San Francisco, the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night began what might be the most decisive 11 games of the season, an 11-step program.

During that run, they play the best-of-the-best in the National League — three at home against the Chicago Cubs, three at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers, two on the road at Milwaukee and three on the road at Chicago.

At the end of that stretch it should be close to clear whether the Reds are contenders or pretenders.

Step One Tuesday night was a step backward as the Reds got a face full of Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks.

Hendricks held the Reds to one run and three hits and drove in two runs for himself with a double, leading the Cubs to a 3-1 victory in Great American Ball Park.

Hendricks came into the game with a .069 batting average with no RBI, but had three hits and drove in the two runs.

On the mound he gave up a home run to Joey Votto and two other hits. After the third hit, a pinch-hit single by Josh VanMeter in the fifth, Hendricks retired the next 10 Reds in a row until he walked Nick Senzel to open the ninth and was replaced by Kyle Ryan.

Ryan did his part, retiring Joey Votto on a 3-and-1 pitch fly ball to left. Steve Cishek replaced Ryan and broke Eugenio Suarez’s bat on a pop to short and took care of Jesse Winker on a ground ball to end it.

The first-place Cubs came to town after winning eight of 10 at home over St. Louis, Miami and Milwaukee and are 9-0-1 in their last 10 series.

“It is important for us to do well,” said manager David Bell. “And it’s a great challenge based on the fact that it has been a process for us to get to this date.

“From my seat, I really like where we are, so it will be a challenge to see how that translates against really good competition,” he added.

It didn’t translate at all positively on this night.

Eugenio Suarez, the Reds’ most productive entity so far this season, knows the importance of putting both spiked shoes forward over the next couple of weeks.

“It is really important for everybody here on this club,” he said. “The most important game is the first game. If you win the first game, we have a chance to win the series. Everybody knows the Cubs are real hot right now, but we play good, too.”

The Reds got bit by analytics in the second inning. With two outs and nobody on, the Reds put four defenders in the outfield and nobody on the left side of the infield against left handed Daniel Descalso.

He took the bait. He pushed a bunt up the third base line for an easy hit and it led to two runs. Albert Almora Jr. singled. That brought up pitcher Kyle Hendricks, so the outfield played shallow. Hendricks beat that, too, lined a ball over center fielder Nick Senzel’s head, a two-run double and a 2-0 Cubs lead.

“It really a good bunt and he didn’t have much of a chance on it,” said Bell. “It was a good play that led to a couple of runs. A lot of times, with two outs, we’ll give guys the bunt and he took advantage of it.”

Said Reds pitcher Tanner Roark, who scrambled off the mound to field the bunt and make a throw, a wild throw, “I was contemplating letting it go foul but it would have dropped dead there. I like to make those plays but my throw was a little off, a little off.”

Of the game-deciding double by opposing pitcher Hendricks, Roark said, “It was a slider I didn’t execute very well. I have to execute my pitch better and not just say, ‘That’s the pitcher up there,’ and not throw a just-get-it-over slider.

“It was not a good pitch and you don’t want that guys to beat you and that’s what happened, so it’s on me,” he added.

Joey Votto, fighting slump-itis, crushed a one-out home run in the fourth inning. Before the home run, he was batting .119 in May that included a 0 for 14 and a 0 for 12.

The Cubs quickly retrieved that run in the fifth on a leadoff double to Kris Bryant, a single by Javier Baez and a sacrifice fly by Willson Contreras to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

The Reds put two on via singles in the fifth, but two outstanding defensive plays prevented any scoring. Derek Dietrich drove one to deep center on which Albert Almora Jr. leaped high against the wall to snag. And second baseman Daniel Descalso went to his knees in short right field to stop Tucker Barnhart’s bid for a run-scoring single and threw him out from his knees.

4 thoughts on “Hendricks pitches, hits Cubs past Reds, 3-1”

  1. Thbis is from Bell your Reds Manager; “From my seat, I really like where we are, so it will be a challenge to see how that translates against really good competition,” he added.”

    Say What??? Your hitting has not been there 1/4 of the season, your in last place 8 games out and You like where your team is?? We hired the wrong guy!! Hope those so called experts are watching the Twins Manager who the Reds said NO too!! What is his team doing ??? WINNING!!!!!

    Another Price/Narron/Boone project that has nothing but FAILED AGAIN REDS!! written all over it

  2. Superb pitching performance in front of a stadium filled with Cubs fans.

    Is Billy Hamilton Tucker Barnhart’s hitting coach ? Cassalli must be scratching his head thinking “what does a guy have to do around here to win a starting job ” (answer-change the coaching staffs computer program) Of course OBP and batting average does not matter in todays game.

    As Lou Piniella liked to say: “I’VE SEEN ENOUGH”

    On another topic along the lines of what does a guy have to do, why are we not seeing Davey Concepcion’s statue outside the stadium ?

  3. I have lost faith in Tucker. Time to sit him and let Cassalli play more. I dont need a computer to see with my eyes a guy isnt hitting. Votto cant come out because he is paid more than everyome. So why hasnt the hitting coach made Votto look at video from 2016. More upright in the batters box and more fluid. Guess a computer has to tell Bell when he makes players accountable.

  4. Jim:

    Your on point again.

    Along those lines I really don’t think with contracts the way they are MOST of todays baseball players care less about winning. Why should they, they are millionaires either way. Also think they would prefer to spend the fall at their beach homes then deal with post season play.

    They will follow their agents PR lines during interviews but that’s the extent of it for most for most of them.

    With our Reds, a culture of losing combined with a brain trust that’s swallowed the entire concept of rendering to computers.

    Rant over, grumpy ole Reds fan done…might be some kids on the lawn I can yell at !

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