6/13 Cubs 6, Reds 5, 14 innings
The Cubs played their own version of overtime on Thursday, as pinch-hitter Julio Borbon hit a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the 14th to post a 6-5 victory over the Reds and avoid a four-game sweep. Maybe they were inspired by the Blackhawks, who beat the Bruins in triple overtime Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Cubs snapped the Reds’ Wrigley Field winning streak at 12, the longest by an opponent in franchise history.
“I feel a lot better now that we broke that streak,” Dale Sveum said. “If we have to play extra innings to beat them, we’ll play extra innings.”
With the game tied at 5, Starlin Castro singled to center against Jonathan Broxton. Anthony Rizzo struck out, and Castro stole second on the play, and moved to third when Alfonso Soriano grounded out. The Reds intentionally walked Nate Schierholtz, who hit two triples in the game, to face Borbon, who lined a 1-0 pitch to left.
“I was looking for a pitch to drive,” Borbon said. “I was looking for that pitch middle away to be able to stay on it, and I got it, and I was ready for it.”
The game-winning hit came five hours after the first pitch. Borbon kept loose on the chilly day by stretching in the weight room, but didn’t take any swings off the clubhouse batting tee.
“It’s my first walkoff,” Borbon said. “It was definitely worth the wait.”
Sveum thought the game might be over in the ninth when Castro smacked a ball off the outfield wall in left, and ended up with a double.
“He crushed that ball,” Sveum said. “That was a a shame — we would’ve been in New York by now.”
The six runs were unusual for the Cubs, who averaged 2.4 runs per game in their last eight games entering Thursday. This was Castro’s first game back in the No. 2 spot after being dropped to sixth and seventh for eight games.
“After today, I might put him somewhere else,” Sveum said.
Chicago pitchers combined to strike out a season-high 19 batters, and the relievers shut down the Reds for eight innings.
“It was a good team effort,” said Blake Parker, who struck out three over two innings in relief. “For me to go in a tight situation, and it’s the first game I’ve been in that’s a close game, and it felt good. It felt like I was right where I wanted to be.”
* This was the Cubs’ longest game since a 6-3, 14-inning win June 7, 2009, at Cincinnati.
* Jeff Samardzija gave up a season-high 10 hits. He’s now 0-1 with a 3.50 ERA in three starts vs. the Reds.
* Hector Rondon earned his first victory, striking out four over two innings. Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the 10th, and now has 701 career Ks.
— Carrie Muskat