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May 31, 2024 5:52 pm

Reds rally, then hold off Cubs to open series

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Santiago Espinal hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run and Elly De La Cruz ended the game with a throw to home to help the visiting Cincinnati Reds secure a 5-4 win against the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

Reds relief pitcher Fernando Cruz (2-5) pitched a no-hit 1 1/3 innings and Alexis Diaz allowed one run on two hits in the ninth for his 11th save.

Ian Happ homered and finished the game with three RBIs for Chicago. Cubs reliver Drew Smyly (2-3) allowed two runs on one hit, walking three and striking out three.

Cincinnati took its first lead of the game in the seventh inning.

After Jonathan India led off with a walk, Espinal hit for Will Benson and knocked the first pitch he faced to left-center field to put the visitors in front 4-3.

In the ninth, India doubled to start the inning. Jacob Hurtubise came in as a pinch runner and advanced to third on Espinal’s sacrifice bunt. He scored on a ground-ball single to left by TJ Friedl to push it to 5-3.

Chicago pulled within one in the bottom half. With Pete Crow-Armstrong and pinch-hitter Michael Busch on with nobody out, Nick Madrigal reached on a forceout, with Busch tagged at second. Seiya Suzuki doubled to center field to bring in Crow-Armstrong. Madrigal tried to tie it but was thrown out at the plate on De La Cruz’s relay throw.

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the second inning. After Christopher Morel led off with a single to center field, Happ followed with a home run to center.

The Reds tied it in the fourth. Spencer Steer drew a one-out walk and Jake Fraley singled to left field. Tyler Stephenson then hit a line drive to right, driving in Steer to cut it to 2-1.

Fraley made it 2-2 when he scored on Nick Martini’s line-drive single to center field.

Reds starter Graham Ashcraft got into trouble in the fifth, and the Cubs regained their lead.

Yan Gomes was hit by a pitch and Mike Tauchman drew a walk to open the inning. Suzuki then struck out and Cody Bellinger hit into a forceout that took Tauchman out at second.

Bellinger stole second with Morel at the plate before Morel drew a walk. Ashcraft was replaced by Cruz, who then walked Ian Happ to bring in Gomes and put Chicago ahead 3-2.

–Field Level Media

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