CINCINNATI — In what might go down as one of the wildest games of the season, the Reds and Cubs had themselves a slugfest at Great American Ball Park, and a game with that much action called for extra innings.
But after taking haymaker after haymaker and delivering a few of their own, the Cubs came up short in the series finale Sunday as the Reds won 13-12 in 10 innings to take the series.
“It felt like a playoff game, to be honest with you,’’ Cubs manager David Ross said. ‘‘Back and forth and tense. Nobody was giving in.
“I’m so proud of my team. That’s one of the more intense games I’ve probably ever been a part of, especially as a manager.”
There were 25 runs, 30 hits and 10 home runs. If it not for the new extra-innings rule, who knows how long the game, which felt more like a boxing match, would’ve gone?
The Cubs’ offense has started to come alive in the last week. In the three-game series against the Reds, the lineup showed it’s still capable of putting together some big performances.
“Just a great game,” Kris Bryant said. “I know we didn’t win, but if I’m a fan going to a baseball game, that’s what I want to see. What did we hit, 10 home runs combined? Great plays, lead changes. It was just a great game.”
A big performance was exactly what they needed after starter Trevor Williams was hit hard and tagged for six runs in 2⅔ innings. He allowed homers by Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suarez in the third inning.
Bryant got things started for the offense with an RBI double before crushing his team-leading eighth and ninth homers in the third and fifth innings.
“These guys didn’t give away an at-bat today; I’m just super-proud of my team,” Ross said.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo got in on the act in the third inning with a solo shot of his own. Shortstop Javy Baez added a 434-foot, two-run shot in the seventh.
Despite all the offense, things didn’t look good as the Cubs’ bullpen struggled to stop the Reds.
After Baez’s homer, Cincinnati scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a three-run lead. Center fielder Ian Happ sent a no-doubt three-run shot to the bleachers in right field to tie the game at 12 in the eighth.
The Reds would have the last laugh, however, as Castellanos singled off closer Craig Kimbrel in the 10th to give Cincinnati the victory.
It was the first time since May 28, 2006, against the Braves that the Cubs scored at least 12 runs and lost.
“This is one of those where it really felt like it was back and forth all game,’’ Williams said. ‘‘It was really who’s gonna blink first. And as a Cub, it was incredible to see the guys pick me up and pick each other up along the way.
“Man, if we played a 15-inning ballgame, it would have been entertaining until the last out. So I think it’s one of those where we would have loved to be on the winning side of that. But aside from the loss, it was really great to see everybody pick each other up, especially the guys that, including myself, didn’t have a great day.”