4/22 Reds 5, Cubs 4
Every loss is tough to take, but Monday hurt a little more for the Cubs because they did nearly everything right. Cesar Izturis hit a walkoff RBI single with two outs in the 13th to spark the Reds to a 5-4 come from behind victory over the Cubs, who had taken a two-run lead in the top of the inning on Luis Valbuena’s two-run home run.
“We battled all game,” Travis Wood said. “They’re a good ballclub over there and their guys did what they needed to do to pull out a win.”
Valbuena connected off Alfredo Simon in the 13th, scoring Welington Castillo, who had reached second on an error by third baseman Todd Frazier. For once, it looked as if the Cubs’ could capitalize on another team’s mistakes.
But Xavier Paul singled to lead off the Reds’ 13th against Michael Bowden, and advanced to third on a double by Brandon Phillips that right fielder Dave Sappelt missed.
“In my mind, I knew I had to make a web gem to win the game,” Sappelt said. “I came up short.”
Paul and Phillips both scored on Jay Bruce’s double into the gap in right center. Did Cubs manager Dale Sveum consider walking Bruce?
“I did,” Sveum said. “I didn’t want to put the winning run on the base and he hadn’t been swinging that good anyway.”
One out later, Izturis lined a single over shortstop Starlin Castro for the game-winner.
“I’m proud of the way they played today,” Sveum said. “They had good at-bats all night long, played good defense, pitched, and came up short. [The Reds] hit the ball hard the last inning. Besides the one blooper that fell in and changed things, other than that, they swung the bats there. No walks — they swung the bats to beat us.”
The Cubs had opportunities, stranding 12 runners in the game.
“It’s hard to be down,” Wood said about the loss. “It’s easy to be down, but also hard to be down. It’s not like we’re getting blown out every game. We’re right there. We just have to come together as a team and figure out how to pull them out.”
Fifteen of the Cubs’ 18 games now have been decided by three runs or less, and the Cubs are 4-11 in those close games.
“They are tough just because you know you’re doing everything you can and for some reason the ball isn’t going our way,” Wood said. “You just have to hang in there and ride it out. Tides will turn.”
— Carrie Muskat