Weary bullpen can’t help Reds in loss to Cubs
CINCINNATI (AP) — All the long, long games are wearing down the Reds’ bullpen.
After Cincinnati rallied to tie in the ninth inning against Chicago’s Carlos Marmol on Tuesday night, a tired bullpen couldn’t keep the momentum going. Darwin Barney homered in the 10th inning, and the Cubs held on for a 4-2 victory.
The Reds’ bullpen already was thin after going extra innings twice in the last three days.
Left-hander Manny Parra (0-1) ended up having to go more than one inning and wound up losing it in the 10th innings. After Barney connected for his first homer and RBI of the season, Dave Sappelt singled home a run for his first RBI as well.
“The ninth inning was big,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I’ve said that a lot of times if you don’t come all the way back, it usually doesn’t work out for you. We had to stay with Manny. Normally, he wouldn’t have been out there for that second inning.”
The Reds overcame a two-run deficit in the 13th inning for a 5-4 win on Monday night in the series opener. This time, they blew a chance to put it away in nine innings.
Marmol, who lost the closer’s job after a rough first week, has pitched well in non-save appearances. Manager Dale Sveum said before the game he’s been impressed by the performance, but wasn’t ready to make Marmol the full-time closer just yet.
Instead, he was going to go by pitcher-batter matchups to finish games. He had one of the best ones in his favor in the ninth.
Joey Votto was 1 for 15 career against Marmol with nine strikeouts when he came to the plate with Shin-Soo Choo on second base and one out. He singled up the middle, scoring Choo to tie it at 2.
“Those numbers don’t lie,” Sveum said of Votto’s struggles against Marmol. “He got the ground ball. It’s like, ‘Really? He can’t hit it at somebody? You’re kidding me.”’
Marmol (2-1) then escaped a bases-loaded threat to keep it tied. Kevin Gregg fanned Votto with two aboard in the 10th to get his first save and end the Cubs’ four-game losing streak.
Chicago won for only the second time in its last nine games. The Cubs are last in the NL Central at 6-13.
Starlin Castro went 0 for 4, ending the major leagues’ longest hitting streak at 14 games.
The Reds lost for only the second time in nine games on a homestand that concludes Wednesday. Long games are their norm — they’ve already gone extra innings five times at Great American Ball Park and had another game suspended overnight by rain.
The Cubs scored their first two runs off left-hander Tony Cingrani, who struck out nine in his second start in the majors. Cingrani was called up to replace Johnny Cueto, out with a pulled muscle in his back.
“I was definitely a lot more comfortable,” said Cingrani, who gave up five hits in seven innings. “The plan going in was we wanted to mix my three pitches, and I think we did that pretty well.”
Scott Hairston had a sacrifice fly in the second. Cody Ransom, claimed off waivers from San Diego on April 16, finally got into a game for the Cubs and delivered on his first swing. He started at third base and hit a solo shot on the first pitch from Cingrani for a 2-0 lead.
Ransom made a nice play to help Villanueva escape a two-on threat in the seventh, turning Todd Frazier’s grounder into a third-to-first double play. He also threw out catcher Corky Miller from foul territory after grabbing his grounder down the line in the eighth.
The Cubs wasted a chance in the sixth, when Sappelt tried to score from third against a drawn-in infield. Second baseman Brandon Phillips got to Anthony Rizzo’s grounder and threw home from his knees. Miller blocked the plate with his left shin guard and tagged out Sappelt.
NOTES: Reds reliever Jonathan Broxton said his right hand — hit by a line drive on Monday night — had recovered and he was available to pitch. … LH reliever Sean Marshall played catch on Tuesday, a day after he started his rehab stint by throwing one inning for Triple-A Louisville. Marshall, disabled by shoulder tendinitis, said he felt fine a day after his outing. … The last Cubs player to homer in his first at-bat with Chicago was Castro on May 7, 2010, also in Cincinnati.
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