Suarez single in 10th lifts Reds over Cubs 5-4
CHICAGO (AP) The Cincinnati Reds are finding new ways to keep their surge going.
Eugenio Suarez drove in Todd Frazier with an unearned tiebreaking run in the 10th inning, and banged-up Cincinnati rebounded for a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs for the Reds' fifth win in six games.
Suarez, playing in his second game after being called up for injured shortstop Zack Cozart, singled on a 3-2 pitch through a drawn-in infield off Hector Rondon (3-1) for his first RBI with the Reds.
Frazier was charging in from third two pitches earlier, and Suarez tried to bunt - a suicide squeeze - on a 2-1 count. He fouled off the pitch, then worked the count full and swung away.
''We took one shot at it and it was an up and away fastball,'' manager Bryan Price said. ''He did a good job to foul it off. And then came through big time with that base hit on 3-2 to drive in the run.''
Suarez, a 23-year-old former Detroit Tiger playing in just his second National League game, was smiling at the outcome.
''The third base coach gave me the sign (squeeze). I tried to put the ball in play,'' Suarez said. ''After that I kept my concentration. I hit a good slider he threw me and I hit it real good. I felt very, very excited because we won a really good game.''
Cincinnati's J.J. Hoover (5-0) pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth for the win. Aroldis Chapman struck out two in the 10th for his 13th save in 14 chances
Frazier, who reached in the 10th on third baseman Kris Bryant's throwing error, hit his team-leading 18th homer and had an RBI double. Ivan Dejesus Jr. and Brayan Pena also had RBIs in Cincinnati's three-run first inning.
''We've been playing well,'' Price said. ''We've had some tough, tough injuries. ''We're just kind of putting our heads down and rolling.''
Starlin Castro's two-run homer in the sixth inning tied the score 4-4. Cubs starter Jason Hammel and Addison Russell also had RBIs.
Before Rondon came on in the 10th, four Cubs relievers - Zac Rosscup, James Russell, Jason Motte and Pedro Strop - combined for four hitless innings while striking out six.
''We made a couple of mistakes, but we kind of fought through them,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''We had an absolute chance to win the game.
''If we play that game often enough this year, we're definitely going to get ourselves into the playoffs.''
Reds starter Johnny Cueto was sailing along with a 4-2 lead until Castro's homer tied it in the sixth. Cueto finished with nine strikeouts and no walks through seven innings, while allowing four runs.
Hammel allowed four runs - two earned - through five innings before leaving after 103 pitches. He permitted seven hits, struck out four, walked three and hit a batter. Hammel had been solid in his previous two starts, winning both while allowing a combined three earned runs and striking out 18 in 14 2/3 innings at Miami and Washington.
''I was out of sync today,'' Hammel said. ''It cost me a lot of deep counts and I battled for five innings.''
Fog rolled in and out of soggy, chilly Wrigley Field. Combined with a strong wind blowing in from the north, that made some normally routine plays adventurous.
Russell, Chicago's rookie second baseman, couldn't handle leadoff man Skip Schumaker's routine grounder in the first. That set the stage for Cincinnati's three-run inning when eight men batted.
Dejesus Jr. and Frazier had RBI doubles, and Pena knocked in the third run with a sharp single.
Hamel helped his own cause as the Cubs cut it to 3-2 in the second. His single drove in Chicago's first run with a single, then scored on Russell's double.
Frazier's solo shot leading off the third on an 0-2 pitch made it 4-2.
The Reds announced they have signed top draft pick Tyler Stephenson, a high school catcher from Georgia selected No. 11 overall Monday night. He will be assigned to rookie-level Billings in the Pioneer League.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton (sore left hand) was back in the lineup and batted ninth after missing three games. He entered the game leading the majors with 25 stolen bases. ... 2B Brandon Phillips (groin) pinch hit in the eighth after missing three games. ... C Devin Mesoraco, an All-Star last season, will discontinue a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville where he was playing left field - a position the Reds hoped would put less strain on a left hip injury.
Cubs: Maddon said OF Jorge Soler, on the 15-day DL (left ankle sprain), is making progress, although he hasn't resumed baseball activities.
Cincinnati RHP Mike Leake (3-4, 4.29 ERA) faces Chicago RHP Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 3.96) on Saturday.
CLOSER OR NO CLOSER
Rondon leads the Cubs with 11 saves in 14 chances - but that's doesn't mean he'll be Chicago's only closer. And it has nothing to do with his hard-luck loss in the 10th on Friday. Maddon said he might call on other relievers to pitch the ninth and spot Rondon - or whoever's hottest out the bullpen - to pitch earlier against the heart of an opponent's order to preserve a lead.
''I like having one (closer), absolutely,'' Maddon said. ''But the nice thing about not having it designated that way is that you get a more clean, clear opportunity to use your best pitcher against the middle of the lineup.''