Cubs’ bullpen squanders comeback in 4-3 loss to Reds

The Cubs held the Reds scoreless until the seventh inning.

SHARE Cubs’ bullpen squanders comeback in 4-3 loss to Reds
Cubs reliever Rowan Wick delivers a pitch during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. He issued two walks in 1⁄3 of an inning pitched.

Cubs reliever Rowan Wick delivers a pitch during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. He issued two walks in 1⁄3 of an inning pitched.


The Cubs held the Reds scoreless through six innings, and they still lost 4-3 Thursday at Wrigley Field.

Cubs reliever Rowan Wick entered the eighth inning with two outs and runners on first and third. He immediately worked ahead in the count against Jake Fraley with two quick strikes. But four of the next five pitches he threw were out of the zone, and Fraley fouled off the one over the plate. Wick walked Fraley to load the bases.

Then, Wick walked Spencer Steer in five pitches, pushing the tying run across the plate.

“You can’t come in and walk guys,” manager David Ross said after the game. “That’s No. 1.”

Wick went on a monthlong streak of 11 scoreless outings from mid-July to mid-August, briefly claiming the bulk of the Cubs’ save situations after the trade deadline. But since Aug. 16, he has allowed seven earned runs in 7⅔ innings.

In the bottom half of the eighth inning, Seiya Suzuki delivered the go-ahead run, lining a homer into the first row of the left-field bleachers to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. He has been on a hot streak. Entering Thursday, Suzuki was hitting .343 with a .929 OPS in his last 19 games.

His heroics, however, didn’t give the Cubs the lead for long. Reliever Mark Leiter Jr. took the mound in the ninth inning. He issued a leadoff walk to Senzel, a game-tying RBI triple to Alejo Lopez and a go-ahead RBI single to Jonathan India.

The late-inning implosion came after starter Adrian Sampson held the Reds to one run through six innings. He did so while battling a blister on the inside of his right ring finger, which he described as “not a big deal.”

Asked about his future with the Cubs, Sampson said: “That is totally out of my control. But heaven on earth is pitching at Wrigley on a day like today: 70’s, beautiful weather out, blue skies, always great fans.”

Hoerner gets offense started

The Cubs had yet to record a hit against Reds starter Luis Cessa when Nico Hoerner led off the fifth inning. He hit a line drive to the center-field wall, just glancing off the end of TJ Friedl’s glove.

Hoerner flew around the bases, sliding head-first into third base with his tongue out. PJ Higgins, the Cubs’ next batter, drove Hoerner in with a sacrifice fly to center. Hoerner also hit a double in the seventh inning, going 2-for-4 on the day.

Injury update

The Cubs announced that the results of Willson Contreras’ MRI on Wednesday were consistent with his sprained ankle diagnosis.

“We wanted to make sure we’re not doing anything that was going to cause any further harm and making sure there’s no real problem in there,” Ross said. “So, all good news. He was excited. We were excited. Making sure he’s healthy and just getting all the way back where the ankle feels strong enough that he can go out and compete without thinking about it.”

Contreras, who the Cubs put on the 10-day injured list this week, will continue to rest his ankle, but he was already moving around more freely Thursday than he was a week ago. He played catch with lefty Justin Steele (low back strain) before the game.

Cubs right-hander Keegan Thompson is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Friday.

The Latest
U.S. District Judge Robert Dow Jr. has presided over Ald. Edward M. Burke’s racketeering case since 2019. It has lingered ever since at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse and is set for trial in November 2023.
The father of Hermes Rios-Cardona had put him into a car seat in the family’s Toyota SUV, but the boy got out and wondered onto Pulaski Road near Wilson Avenue Monday afternoon, according to police.
Adel Daoud was arrested at the end of a monthslong FBI investigation in which an agent provided him with an inert bomb installed in a Jeep that reeked of gasoline and was filled with “bags and bags of fertilizer.” The feds nabbed Daoud after he allegedly tried to set it off outside the Cactus Bar & Grill.
Paul Yambrovich found his biggest puffball and hen of the woods, then commemorated the experience with a sort of ode to mushrooms and life.
A man was shot during a carjacking early Monday in the 300 block of North Western Avenue on the Near West Side, police said.