Patrick Kivlehan's surprise start lifts Cincinnati Reds past Chicago Cubs

By Mark Schmetzer, The Sports Xchange  |  April 23, 2017 at 6:03 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

CINCINNATI -- Patrick Kivlehan made the most of a surprise start.

The Cincinnati outfielder, who didn't know he was starting until less than two hours before the first pitch, drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double. Scott Schebler also homered and drove in two runs and Bronson Arroyo earned his second straight win as the Reds snapped a season-long four-game losing streak, holding off the Chicago Cubs for a 7-5 win on Sunday.

Kivlehan was inserted into the starting lineup in left field when shortstop Zack Cozart was scratched and led to lineup shuffling. Kivlehan ended up driving in what proved to be the winning runs against Chicago veteran right-hander John Lackey.

"That was awesome," Kivlehan said. "He put it in a good spot for me. He walked me the last time up, and I knew he didn't want to do that again. I wanted to be aggressive and look for something in the strike zone."

Reds manager Bryan Price was impressed with Kivlehan's savvy against Lackey.

"He had a really good swing," Price said. "That was not an easy at-bat against a good pitcher. He just did a great job. He stayed on the pitch and drove it to left-center field. That gave us breathing room, which we ended up needing."

The Reds snapped Chicago's season-best four-game winning streak while salvaging the final game of the three-game series. They finished 3-7 on their homestand after going 5-1 on the preceding road trip.

Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer wasn't enough to prevent Lackey's third consecutive loss. Lackey (1-3) allowed six hits and seven runs, five earned, with two walks and seven strikeouts.

"I felt I definitely pitched better than I think the numbers are going to show," Lackey said. "I didn't give up a whole lot of hard contact. What are you going to do?"

Arroyo (2-2), who missed the last 2 1/2 seasons with shoulder and elbow injuries, allowed just three hits, including Rizzo's blast, and no walks in six innings. He finished with 48 strikes among his 66 pitches and as many as seven strikeouts for the first time since a 3-1 win over Washington for Arizona on May 13, 2014.

The 40-year-old relished playing a major role in stopping Cincinnati's tailspin.

"To be honest with you, I've always looked forward to being that guy who takes the ball after three or four losses in a row," he said. "I like being the guy who stops the bleeding."

Arroyo used his entire assortment of pitches to keep the Cubs' batters mostly baffled.

"I'm happy for him, to see him back up," said Chicago catcher Miguel Montero, who struck out looking in the fifth. "He's a tough pitcher to face, obviously. He's probably throwing below hitting speed right now."

Center fielder Billy Hamilton, who was 4 for 31 over the first nine games of Cincinnati's homestand, led off the Reds' first with a single to center field. He stole second and third before Jose Peraza lined out to shortstop Addison Russell before scoring on Joey Votto's sacrifice fly.

Schebler, who went into the game with one hit in his last 21 at-bats, gave the Reds a 2-0 lead on his fourth homer of the season with two outs in the second inning.

Arroyo retired the first 10 batters he faced before Kris Bryant singled with one out in the fourth. Rizzo followed with his third homer in three games, all of them multi-run shots.

Cincinnati regained a 3-2 lead in the fourth as Eugenio Suarez scored from second base on Schebler's soft single to center field, his second two-out RBI of the game.

The Reds broke it open with a four-run sixth, including Kivlehan's double up the left-center field gap. Two Cubs' errors created two unearned runs.

NOTES: INF Ben Zobrist returned to the Cubs' lineup, playing second base and batting cleanup. He hadn't played since April 19 due to back tightness. ... The Reds recalled RHP Ariel Hernandez from Double-A Pensacola and optioned RHP Lisalverto Bonilla to Triple-A Louisville. ... Anthony Rizzo's home gives the Cubs at least one home run in 15 consecutive games at Great American Ball Park.

Trending Stories