Cubs fall short 7-6 to Reds, extend losing streak to three games

The Cubs lost the lead twice in a back-and forth game.

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Cubs lefty Drew Smyly gave up six earned runs to the Reds in his first start of the season.

Cubs lefty Drew Smyly gave up six earned runs to the Reds in his first start of the season.

Jeff Dean/AP

CINCINNATI — With two outs in the ninth inning and the Cubs trailing the Reds by a run Monday, third baseman Patrick Wisdom was thinking, ‘‘Just get on base.’’

He poked a cutter into right field. First baseman Eric Hosmer, who had his first three hits with the Cubs, followed him and knew he wanted to get to Reds pitcher Derek Law early and shoot the ball through the same hole Wisdom found. Hosmer did just that, turning on a first-pitch curveball.

The likelihood of a comeback grew likelier with each hit. Then pinch hitter Miles Mastrobuoni hit a line drive to first baseman Jason Vosler, who made a leaping catch for the final out of the game.

‘‘The offense did a good job fighting today,’’ Hosmer said after the Cubs’ 7-6 loss, their third defeat in a row. ‘‘Tough way to end it.’’

The turning points came earlier in the game, with the Cubs seizing the lead twice and losing it twice. They had another opportunity in the seventh and stranded the bases loaded.

‘‘Our offense scored a lot of runs, plenty to win a game,’’ starter Drew Smyly said. ‘‘I just let us down tonight.’’

The Cubs got off to a three-run lead, with center fielder Cody Bellinger belting a three-run home run in the first inning for his first hit with the Cubs.

In the bottom of the first, Smyly walked the first batter he faced, then yielded four consecutive singles on soft contact as the Reds tied the score 3-3.

The Reds took the lead in the second with the help of a throwing error assessed to Smyly when a miscommunication left no one covering first base on a bunt. But he settled in and limited the damage the next two innings.

The Cubs rallied for three runs in the fifth, but Smyly gave up a three-run homer to Vosler with two outs in the bottom of the inning to end his start. He yielded seven runs (six earned) and nine hits in 423 innings.

In the seventh, the Cubs put two runners on with a walk and catcher’s interference. Wisdom was up next but lined a bunt to the pitcher on a 3-1 count.

Wisdom was dealing with some soreness and inflammation in his left wrist after being hit there two innings before, but he said that didn’t affect the decision to bunt.

‘‘I was seeing it unfold when I was on deck,’’ he said. ‘‘And I knew, ‘This is a big run, so I need to get these guys over.’ ’’

The message from the bench lined up with that thought.

‘‘I had some debate in my mind whether to let him swing [on] 3-1,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘Didn’t, and it was a bad result. But he’s a really good bunter, a really good player. I thought the matchup favored us getting that guy over.’’

Wisdom had X-rays after the game, and he said they showed that ‘‘everything’s good.’’

Arizona updates

Back at the Cubs’ spring-training complex, left-hander Brandon Hughes (inflammation in left knee) threw a live batting-practice session Sunday, the Cubs said. He’s scheduled to throw again Wednesday.

Right fielder Seiya Suzuki (strained left oblique) had two at-bats and played four innings in the field in a simulated game Monday.

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