Cubs 7, Reds 6
CHICAGO (AP)—Tom Goodwin accepts his role as a part-time player and pinch-hitter. His time on the field might be limited, yet he still has the chance to determine an important game.
“You have to have those type of guys on the team because the superstars can’t do it every day,” Goodwin said after delivering a bases-loaded, two-run single as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
Chicago, which began the day one game behind first-place Houston in the NL Central, squandered a 5-1 lead when the Reds scored five times in the seventh against Mark Guthrie and Antonio Alfonseca (2-1).
But after a rain delay with one out in the bottom half, the Cubs came out energized and staged one of their most crucial rallies of the season.
“It might have helped us because momentum was definitely on their side,” Goodwin said of the rain.
“Nobody was panicking when we came in. I thought we felt we could get the runs. It might have been a good time for a break because they came out and put a five-spot on us. It’s not an easy thing to regroup from and come right back out and try to get some runs.”
Alfonseca won in his first appearance since a five-game suspension for bumping an umpire.
Joe Borowski got his 27th save in 31 chances, stopping the Cubs’ two-game losing skid. He gave up two singles in the ninth before Ray Olmedo hit into a forceout—third baseman Ramirez went high for his chopper—and Steve Smitherman struck out, ending the game.
“I saw a lot of good things. You don’t want to call the crowd hostile, but it’s an environment that a lot of these guys haven’t had a chance to be in front of,” Reds interim manager Dave Miley said.
“It came down to the last out and the last strike.”
Nineteen of the 28 players on the Reds’ roster began the season in the minors or the Mexican League, and 14 were at Wrigley Field on Friday for the first time.
“These games matter and they start to matter to you,” Sean Casey said. “It makes it fun for us, too. We are trying to be the spoiler right now.”
And the Reds almost were.
Kerry Wood allowed five hits and struck out nine in six innings, leaving with a 5-1 lead before Cincinnati rallied.
Pinch-hitter Dernell Stenson—in a 7-for-39 slump—hit a two-run double to cap the Reds’ five-run seventh.
Jimenez and Casey singled before Russell Branyan hit an RBI double off Guthrie that made it 5-2.
Ruben Mateo greeted Alfonseca with a two-run double. Corky Miller walked and Wily Mo Pena sacrificed just as a hard rain began to fall at Wrigley Field. After Olmedo struck out, Stenson drove a two-run double to the wall in left-center to put the Reds ahead.
Chicago scored in each of the first four innings, chasing Seth Etherton, who got just six outs.
Moises Alou hit a sacrifice fly, Kenny Lofton had a run-scoring double, Mark Grudzielanek had an RBI single, Ramirez hit a run-scoring grounder and Brian Reith threw a wild pitch with a runner on third.
Branyan hit an RBI single in the fifth for the only run allowed by Wood.
Goodwin is 10-for-26 (.385) as a pinch-hitter this season. He has also started 31 games in the outfield. … The Cubs are 9-3 in September and the remainder of their schedule features 15 games against non-contenders: the Reds, Mets and Pirates. … Reds catcher Jason LaRue left in the third with backspasms and was replaced by Miller.