Cubs

Observations: Cubs squander Alzolay's start, skid hits 8

Cubs
USA TODAY

The Cubs lost 3-2 to the Reds Saturday afternoon, their eighth straight loss, dropping to 42-41 this season.

Here are 10 observations from the game.

1. Adbert Alzolay gave up a pair of solo home runs but otherwise shut down the Reds through six innings, throwing only 69 pitches. He’s given up 16 home runs this season, 13 to lefties, including Joey Votto and Tyler Naquin Saturday.

2. Cincinnati broke through off Alzolay in the seventh, taking a 3-2 lead after two hits and a walk. To Alzolay’s credit, he limited the damage by inducing an inning-ending double play.

3. The Reds’ seventh-inning rally came immediately after the Cubs squandered a first-and-third, no-out opportunity. Javy Báez, after missing extra bases on a foul ball by a few feet, popped out. Anthony Rizzo grounded into a 3-6-3 double play.

"We scratched and clawed there to get in a really good situation," manager David Ross said. "We've got to get that run in. Pushing that run across would have been huge for us."

4. Alzolay threw seven innings of five-hit, three-run ball, tied for the longest outing of his career. It’s also the first time since June 13 that a Cubs starter got an out in the seventh inning.

"Adbert threw great," Ross said. "Very efficient, was able to go deep into the game. We haven't had a lot of that.

"He had a great start and really got out and competed."

 

5. The Cubs had their chances but ended the day 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine runners on base. They loaded the bases with two outs in the first but came up empty.

6. Kris Bryant tallied nine hits in a down June. He has five through two games in July, after a three-hit game Saturday. He slugged a solo home run in the third inning. 

7. A few aggressive baserunning plays panned out for the Cubs. In the second, Rafael Ortega scored from third on a passed ball that trickled a few feet away from catcher Tyler Stephenson. In the third, Willson Contreras turned a single to left field into a hustle double.

8. With the recent skid, Craig Kimbrel hasn't had many save opportunities. He got the last out of the eighth Saturday in his first appearance since June 24. He closed out the Cubs' combined no-hitter that day.

9. The Cubs are in third place, falling behind the Reds, for the first time since May 17, when they were 20-20.

10. The Cubs are 8 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the NL Central. Milwaukee beat the Pirates on Saturday.

On deck: The Cubs look to avoid the sweep on Sunday. First pitch is 12:10 p.m. Kyle Hendricks (10-4, 3.98 ERA) and Wade Miley (6-4, 3.09 ERA) are the probable starters.

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