CHICAGO (AP) — The last-place Cincinnati Reds tightened up their act to rebound from a lopsided loss and hang on against the top team in the NL Central.
Scooter Gennett’s sacrifice fly drove in Joey Votto from third to break a scoreless tie in the eighth, and Billy Hamilton singled in a run in the ninth as Cincinnati edged the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Tuesday night.
After Votto walked for the third time and advanced to third on Adam Duvall’s single off reliever Pedro Strop (3-3), Gennett smacked a line drive to right that Jason Heyward caught on the run.
“Overall it was just a really fun baseball game on both ends,” Gennett said. “Pitching was great.”
Cincinnati rookie Luis Castillo allowed only two singles over six innings as the Reds — drubbed by Chicago 15-5 on Monday — beat the Cubs for just the eighth time in the last 33 games. Chicago remained 1 ½ games ahead of both St. Louis and Milwaukee in the NL Central.
“I was focused today,” Castillo said, speaking through a translator. “Today was just amazing. I felt really, really good on the mound.”
Ben Zobrist singled in a run in the ninth off Raisel Iglesias to cut the Reds’ lead to 2-1, but Iglesias worked around three hits in the ninth for his 21st save in 22 chances.
After pinch hitter Kyle Schwarber and Heyward singled to start the ninth, Javier Baez’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third.
Zobrist, who had entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, singled sharply to right. Schwarber scored, but Heyward was held up at third.
“Great at-bat by Zobrist,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “He just hit it in the wrong spot.”
Iglesias then struck out Jon Jay and and Alex Avila to end it.
“My back is turned to that play,” Heyward said. “I’ve just got to trust my third base coach there.”
Starters Castillo and Kyle Hendricks got no-decisions as they matched up in a crisp duel. Michael Lorenzen (7-2), pitched a scoreless seventh for the win in a game with just one extra-base hit — Reds pinch hitter Jose Peraza’s ground-rule double in the ninth.
Votto was held hitless, but reached base at least twice for the 20th consecutive game. That extended his Reds club record, matched Barry Bonds for the longest streak since 2004, and is one game short of Ted Williams’ major-league record set in 1948.
Castillo, one of three rookies in the Reds rotation, walked two and fanned seven in his 11th start and first againt the Cubs.
Hendricks, making his fifth start since coming off the disabled list on July 24, allowed five hits while walking four and striking out six through six-plus innings.
“All the things I’ve been working on came to fruition,” Hendricks said. “Fastball command, No. 1, was good.”
Hendricks left with none out in the seventh with two runners on. Carl Edwards Jr. closed out the inning with three strikeouts to keep the Reds off the board.
Hendricks is 0-1 with four no-decisions since coming back from right hand tendinitis. His last win was on May 24 versus San Francisco.
Reds: C Devin Mesoraco was placed on the 10-day DL with a broken bone in his left foot and will be out three to six weeks, according to manager Bryan Price. An All-Star in 2014, Mesoraco was hit by a pitch from Chicago Cubs starter Jose Quintana in the second inning of the Reds 15-5 loss at Wrigley Field on Monday. . The Reds recalled outfielder Phillip Ervin from Triple-A Louisville to fill the roster spot. … Mesoraco’s absence creates an additional complication: The wives of the two catchers on the Reds active roster, Tucker Barnhart and Stuart Turner, are both expecting babies in about 10 days.
Cubs: SS Addison Russell (strained right foot) doesn’t think he’ll be ready to play before the Cubs conclude their current homestand on Sunday. Russell said he is able to run and hit, but has issues when he tries to change direction. . Zobrist was scratched from the starting lineup for the second straight game with a stiff neck as a precaution, but could return to the lineup on Wednesday.
Reds RHP Homer Bailey (4-6, 8.31 ERA) takes the mound against Cubs righty John Lackey (10-9, 4.82) on Wednesday night in the third contest of the four-game series. Lackey is 5-0 with a 3.42 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. Bailey, who opened the season on the DL after having bone spurs removed from his right elbow, will make his 11th start.