CINCINNATI -- A four-run top of the 11th inning gave the Cubs a 7-3 victory over the Reds on Friday, their fifth game won in their final at-bat in 16 games overall. Jonathan Herrera delivered the go-ahead run with an RBI single.
It was a 3-3 game in the top of the 11th when struggling Reds reliever Burke Badenhop gave up three straight one-out singles. Anthony Rizzo started the rally with a lined single to center field that was stopped on the short-hop by a diving Billy Hamilton. Kris Bryant followed with a single up the middle before Herrera, who entered the game defensively in the ninth inning, came through with a lined RBI single to right field.
David Ross drove in two more runs with a double to the right-field wall before pinch-hitter Travis Wood drove in another run on a comebacker off of Badenhop's glove that left him with only a play to first base. Cubs reliever Jason Motte earned the victory after he survived a bases-loaded rally in the bottom of the 10th when Jay Bruce popped out. The Reds were 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.
"A lot of times we were in the middle of our lineup, and we just weren't able to get the big knock," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We had the guys up that you'd want in that situation. Tonight wasn't our night to get it done. We're going to have to fight the next couple of days to win the series."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Missed chances, galore: The Reds were held scoreless over the final seven innings after having leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the game. There certainly were no shortage of chances. In the eighth inning with runners on first and second and no outs, Brandon Phillips grounded into a double play and Bruce struck out. In the 10th after Phillips walked vs. Motte to load the bases, Bruce went into a 0-2 count before hitting a weak foul pop near third base for the rally-killing out. More >
Lester on the mound: The Cubs needed Lester to go deep to avoid having to go to the bullpen too early. The lefty set season highs with 104 pitches and 10 strikeouts over six innings. This was his second career start vs. the Reds and first ever at Great American Ball Park. He might have enjoyed it more if not for Hamilton.
"I got a better feel for my cutter tonight and was able to make some offspeed pitches, which is obviously key against this team," Lester said. "I'm learning. New league, new faces, new guys." More >
No-decision for Leake: Coming off of a complete-game start on Sunday at St. Louis, Reds starter Mike Leake turned in another quality start vs. the Cubs. Leake gave up three earned runs and four hits over seven innings with one walk and nine strikeouts. However, he also blew two leads by allowing home runs -- Rizzo's two-run shot to right field in the fourth inning that made it a 2-2 game and Chris Coghlan's leadoff homer to left field that tied it at 3 in the seventh. Coghlan entered the game 8-for-8 against Leake for his career, but flied out in the two at-bats before the homer on a 0-2 fastball left over the plate.
"I definitely put a little more focus on him this game," Leake said of Coghlan. "I felt like I did a pretty good job. I guess you can second guess yourself and take that pitch back. I executed the pitch I wanted, so I can't get mad about that."
"I've always really thought highly of a team that can win in extra innings on the road. That really indicates you're totally focused on the game in its entirety. That's always been my measuring stick of a good team. Everybody participated, and you can truly classify that as a team win." -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Jake Arrieta will face the Reds for the second time in 11 days. He took a loss in a 3-2 decision April 14 at Wrigley Field, giving up three runs over 6 2/3 innings. This will be the right-hander's fourth start, and he's the only Cubs starter to go at least 6 2/3 innings in each of his outings. First pitch, weather permitting, is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET/12:10 p.m. CT. There's a good chance for rain on Saturday.
Reds: Coming off of two sensational outings, where he's allowed a combined four hits over 15 scoreless innings, right-hander Anthony DeSclafani will start for Cincinnati. On April 14, DeSclafani earned a 3-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field with seven scoreless innings.