By JEFF WALLNER
CINCINNATI — Jason Vosler, a non-roster invitee to spring training, hit a go-ahead three-run home run, his second of the season, as the Cincinnati Reds held off the Chicago Cubs 7-6 on Monday. Cody Bellinger collected his first hit as a Cub: a three-run home run in the first.
“It is so much fun just to watch Jason (Vosler),” Reds manager David Bell said. “He didn’t even start the game but he stayed ready. He is excited to show what kind of player he is. He winds up being a big part of a great win.”
Derek Law stranded the tying and go-ahead runners in the ninth to earn his first save since 2019. Alex Young (1-0) earned the victory.
Bellinger, who was 0-for-11 to begin his Cubs career, launched a 3-1 pitch from Connor Overton with two runners aboard in the first to make the score 3-0.
“Felt like it was coming,” Eric Hosmer said, of Bellinger’s first hit. “He’s hit some hard balls. The ball was flying out at BP today. Just felt like one of those days.”
But it was a rough first inning for Drew Smyly (0-1) too, as the Reds pounded out four straight singles, driving in three runs to tie the score.
“It was a tough first game,” Smyly said. “I got staked a three-run lead early. There’s just a lot of weak contact that was going for hits.”
Hosmer’s two-run double off left-hander Young in the fifth put the Cubs ahead 6-4. He was 0-for-7 coming into the game.
“The first hit is always a relief,” Hosmer said.
Vosler who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the second, hit a go-ahead, three-run home run off Smyly to put the Reds ahead 7-6.
“Can’t give up a three-run homer to a lefty,” Smyly said.
Vosler, a former Cubs minor-leaguer. has two home runs and four extra-base hits in 11 at-bats since making the club.
“It was on my mind a little bit facing the Cubs,” Vosler said. “I got drafted by them. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to put together good at-bats but a three-run shot feels a little better against your former team for sure.”
Cincinnati, which began last season 3-22, is off to a 3-1 start.
Dansby Swanson is the first Cubs player since at least 1901 with at least three three-hit games in the team’s first four games of a season. “Quality at-bat, after quality at-bat,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Dansby’s been our best player for sure so far.”
Patrick Wisdom was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning, but remained in the game. He said the wrist was not a factor in his sacrifice bunt attempt with two runners on in the seventh which resulted in a pop out to the pitcher. “The matchup favored us to get the runners over to second and third,” Ross said. “It just didn’t work out.” X-rays on Wisdom’s wrist were negative. “I dodged a bullet,” Wisdom said. “Well, I really didn’t dodge it.”
Former Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart was honored with a video tribute in the first inning. Barnhart made 744 appearances for the Reds. He was signed as a free agent by the Cubs in December.
Cubs: LHP Brandon Hughes (left knee inflammation) threw a live BP session on Sunday. He is expected to throw again on April 5.
Reds: CF Jose Barrero, who made his first start in center field since 2021, left the game with right hamstring tightness after his single in the second inning.
Cubs RHP Hayden Wesneski will face Reds RHP Luis Cessa. ___
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