Luis Valbuena's two-run triple in the top of the 12th inning lifted the Chicago Cubs over the Cincinnati Reds, 6-4, on Thursday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
Arismendy Alcantara, in his second big league game, went 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored for the Cubs, who salvaged the finale of this five- game set and ended and six-game slide. Starlin Castro added a pair of RBI for Chicago, which went 5-6 on its 11-game road trip.
Ryan Ludwick went 3-for-6 with a homer and two RBI for the Reds, who blew a three-run lead and saw a five-game win streak come to a halt. No other Cincinnati player had multiple hits in a game that saw the Reds lose another starter and tempers flare before a dramatic end for the Cubs.
With the game tied in the ninth inning, the game got heated when the Cubs took exception to Aroldis Chapman throwing high and inside to a couple of the players in the top of the inning. Chapman escalated the issue by making gestures towards the Cubs dugout as he walked off the field after the top of the frame.
Then, while Chicago was warming up in the field in the middle of the inning, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo walked towards the Reds dugout, taking off his hat and throwing down his glove, appearing to challenge Chapman and his antics. Benches cleared and cooler heads eventually prevailed without any ejections and only warnings issued.
The game remained deadlocked until the 12th when the Cubs went ahead. With two outs and a pair of runners on, Valbuena drove a pitch from J.J. Hoover deep to right. Skip Schumaker tracked it down and made a leaping attempt. However, the ball went off his glove, caromed off the wall and the race was on. By the time Schumaker tracked down the ball, two runs scored. The relay throw, though, got Valbuena at home despite a replay on the bang-bang play at the plate.
Hoover (1-6) suffered the setback, allowing two runs on four hits in two innings.
Blake Parker (1-0) got the win for the Cubs, striking out three in two innings.
The loss also came at a price for the Reds.
A day after losing starting second baseman Brandon Phillips to a left thumb injury and two days after starting first baseman Joey Votto was placed on the disabled list with a left quad injury, Cincinnati may have lost one of its top starting pitchers for an extended period of time.
Homer Bailey left the game in the sixth inning with pain in the patellar tendon in his right knee. Despite the injury, the Reds beat the Cubs for the 10th time in 13 games this season as Cincinnati moved eight games over .500.
With Castro at the plate leading off the inning, Bailey never delivered a 1-2 pitch after pulling up when feeling pain. The pitch prior he was seen flexing his right leg after his delivery.
Cincinnati got going in the first inning, jumping on Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks in his major league debut. Consecutive walks to begin the inning set the table for Brayan Pena's one-out RBI double. Ludwick added an RBI single and Pena scored on Ramon Santiago's base hit to give the Reds a 3-0 lead.
The Cubs got a run back in the third when Hendricks scored on a Alcantara sac fly, but Ludwick's homer in the home half of the frame gave the Reds another three-run edge.
Chicago got back into the game in the fifth when Alcantara doubled home a pair of runs and later tied the game off Jonathan Broxton in the eighth when Castro singled home Alcantara, who reached on an infield single that glanced off the glove of Broxton and later moved to third when first baseman Pena's errant throw to second went into left field.
Bailey was charged with three runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Hendricks also got a no-decision, surrendering four runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked three.