CINCINNATI (AP)Nick Castellanos raced home on Craig Kimbrel’s third wild pitch of the seventh inning, and the Cincinnati Reds avoided a doubleheader sweep by topping the Chicago Cubs 6-5 on Saturday night.
Cincinnati took advantage of another rough performance by Kimbrel (0-1), who got off to a tough start this year before stringing together five consecutive scoreless appearances. The right-hander threw half of his 22 pitches for strikes in his shaky outing against the Reds.
”We need Craig to be good,” manager David Ross said. ”Nothing’s changed on our end where we need Craig to be. He’s not quite where he wants to be. He’s put in the work. Tonight wasn’t his night.”
Curt Casali reached on a leadoff walk before Freddy Galvis pinch-ran for the catcher. After Mark Payton struck out swinging, Castellanos walked and Aristides Aquino hit a tying RBI single.
Another wild pitch and an intentional walk loaded the bases for Mike Moustakas, who struck out swinging. But Kimbrel threw a wild pitch while facing rookie Jose Garcia, bringing home the winning run.
Joel Kuhnel (1-0) pitched the seventh for the win.
In the opener, Yu Darvish scattered seven hits over six innings, Anthony Rizzo homered twice and the Cubs snapped a three-game skid with a 3-0 victory.
Darvish (6-1) earned his sixth straight win. He struck out eight and walked two, winning his matchup with Trevor Bauer, one of Cincinnati’s best pitchers.
”It was big for sure,” Darvish said of beating Bauer. ”He’s amazing this year. I was thinking before the game, `I can’t give them more than two runs.”’
The teams combined for five home runs in the second game. Jesse Winker hit a two-run shot for Cincinnati, and Casali and Joey Votto connected for solo drives. Ian Happ hit a leadoff homer for Chicago in the first, a fly ball that barely cleared the fence while squeezing past the right-field foul pole, and David Bote launched a two-run shot.
”I think the good part is that we fought back in a situation where we could have given up early on,” Ross said. ”That’s what I’m going to focus on.”
Ross and coach Mike Borzello and Reds manager David Bell, Votto and Winker all were ejected in the fourth following an exchange of high pitches that sparked a shouting match and cleared the benches and bullpens for each side. No punches were thrown.
”So many good things happened,” Bell said. ”Obviously, it’s not way you draw it up. It wasn’t easy by any means. A couple of our best players go out of the game. It seems like nothing went right, but our team stayed with it. So many little things happened to give us the opportunity to win the game.”
Rizzo helped Chicago grab control of the opener with two big swings, connecting for solo drives in the third and sixth.
Jeremy Jeffress pitched the seventh for his fourth save, and Cincinnati’s three-game winning streak ended.
Bauer (3-2) needed a season-high 112 pitches to get through a season-low 5 1/3 innings. He lost his second consecutive start, allowing four hits, striking out five and walking two.
Bauer missed his spot on Rizzo’s second blast.
”I was trying to go down and in with that and it just hung in the zone,” Bauer said. ”If you leave it in the zone, that’s one of his power spots, as you saw. The one before that was the third changeup I’ve thrown this year. He couldn’t have been looking for it. I executed it. He was just better than me on that pitch. He floated it out.”
Darvish’s glove slipped off his left hand and fell to the mound while he was delivering a pitch to Galvis with Moustakas on first base in the fourth inning.
Before the opener, there was a moment of silence to honor the memory of actor Chadwick Boseman, whose many roles included Jackie Robinson in ”42.” Boseman died of colon cancer on Friday.
Cubs: C Victor Caratini was charged with a painful error after a Shogo Akiyama swing caught his mitt in the opener. Caratini shook his gloved hand, and Akiyama went to first on catcher’s interference.
Reds: LHP Jesse Biddle was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder impingement.
Cubs: RHP Tyler Chatwood (2-2), who is scheduled to start Sunday, lasted 1 1/3 innings while giving up three hits and two runs in Chicago’s 7-1 loss at Detroit on Tuesday.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (0-4) allowed five hits and three runs, only one earned, in Cincinnati’s 3-2 loss at Kansas City on Tuesday.
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