Cubs routed 9-1 by Reds in doubleheader opener; seek series sweep in nightcap

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The most fight the Cubs could muster in Wednesday’s doubleheader opener was the argument over a balk call that got manager Joe Maddon ejected in the fourth inning.

CINCINNATI – The Cubs’ big plans to make big waves against also-rans coming out of the All-Star break got another reality check Wednesday in the opener of a doubleheader, when the Cincinnati Reds beat the Cubs 9-1.

The Cubs have split six games against the Braves and Reds during this stretch of 17 straight games against losing teams coming out of the break.

They’re 4-5 against losing teams going back to the three-game series loss at home to the White Sox just before the break.

“I see these teams, and I know their record isn’t what they’re supposed to be,” Cubs manager Maddon said. “But they’re good teams.

“This team’s got a very good offensive ballclub. The White Sox, they pitch really, really well. So I know what the records look like, and I know what you’re supposed to do. But it’s not like you just throw your glove or your hat out there and you win because you have a better record than the other team does.”

Barely 12 hours before Tuesday night’s 13-inning Cubs victory was finished, so was any drama this one might have had.

Five batters into the bottom of the first, the Reds had a 4-0 lead against Kyle Hendricks – on a pair of infield singles and walk, followed by back-to-back two-run doubles.

Hendricks retired 18 of the final 22 he faced after that. But it was too little too late.

“Weird is a good word for it,” said Hendricks (4-5), who had allowed just one earned run in 26 innings over his previous four starts (0.35 ERA). “I’ll be the first one to tell you when I don’t make good pitches, but I thought I was throwing pretty well even from the first. Just some bad breaks. It wasn’t my day.

“I really wanted to get that one, especially with the great one we had last night.”

By the time just-recalled reliever Yoervis Medina was done with an ugly inning of work in the seventh, the rout was complete.

“If you look at the final score, you think it’s like this total mismatch,” Maddon said,” and it wasn’t.”

What little fight the Cubs mustered came in the fourth inning, when an unusual balk raised manager Joe Maddon’s ire enough to result in his third ejection of the year.

On the play, first baseman Anthony Rizzo broke off first to cover a potential bunt as Hendricks threw to first, with Rizzo recovering in time to take the throw a couple feet from the bag.

“He said basically it was that because Rizz did not attempt to go back and make a tag,” Maddon said of first-base ump Adam Hamari. “I didn’t want to hear it at that point.

“He came like he was going to charge on the bunt. I saw the replay, and he caught it, and he kind of started meandering back to the back, which normally is good enough.

“It just never should have happened. If another umpire could overrule an umpire on a situation like that, I’m sure it would have happened. I just couldn’t accept the explanation.”

The Cubs only run came on hot-hitting rookie Kyle Schwarber’s run-scoring single in the third inning. He had two hits and a walk in the game.

He’s hitting .429 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 12 games this season.

The Cubs added Medina to the roster before the game to help a heavily taxed bullpen. They made room for him by designating Clayton Richard for assignment.

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