Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (4/30/21): Reds 8, Cubs 6 – Fake Rally Falls Short After Arrieta Struggles

Despite a ton of suspense and a valiant comeback in the top of the 9th, the Cubs just couldn’t scrape together enough to overcome a huge early deficit and dropped a late nailbiter to the Reds in Cincinnati.

Jake Arrieta was spotted two early runs to start things off as Kris Bryant staked him to a 1-0 lead in the 1st and Nico Hoerner drove in Matt Duffy to make things 2-0 Cubs in the 2nd inning against Reds starter Wade Miley. Unfortunately, some uncharacteristically poor command led to quite a few hittable pitches in the heart of the zone for the Reds hitters, and they obliged by jumping all over Arrieta in the 3rd and 4th innings.

Old pal Nicholas Castellanos drove in the first Reds run of the night in the bottom of the 3rd on what could have been a double play ball, and then was quickly driven in by Joey Votto, who left the yard in a hurry to make things 3-2 Reds. The Reds continued to pile on and take advantage of Arrieta mistakes in the 4th as Eugenio Suarez and Nick Senzel both hit jacks while Votto and Jesse Winker each drove in another to make it 8-2 Reds.

The Cubs clawed back with two in the 7th as Bryant ripped a double to left-center to score Eric Sogard, then promptly scored on a Javier Báez base hit. Still, it was looking bleak heading into the 9th down four.

In the top of the 9th, the Cubs made things super interesting by loading the bases with no outs for Anthony Rizzo, but he flew out to left and Báez got a sac fly. Jason Heyward and Jake Marisnick then proceeded to walk to narrow things to 8-6, but David Bote grounded out on a very hittable Tejay Antone curve ball that just hovered in the zone. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Lost

Arrieta was not himself and just gave up too many hard-hit balls that led to lots of Reds runs.

Key Moment

While it may have been lost in the barrage of home runs that followed, the Cubs had a chance to keep the Reds off the board by turning a double play on a Castellanos ground ball with one out in the bottom of the 3rd. The Cubs ended up getting only one out on a slow turn from and allowed Miley to score. Joey Votto deposited the next pitch in the right field stands to completely turn momentum in this one.

Stats That Matter

  • After five solid starts to open the season, Arrieta finally threw a dud. His line tonight: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3 bombs given up.
  • The Cubs bullpen was really, really good as Kyle Ryan, Justin Steele, and Dillon Maples combined to throw 4.1 IP and strike out 10 Reds without giving up a free pass.
  • Bryant remains red hot, going 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBI, and his seventh home run.

Bottom Line

Arrieta wasn’t good tonight, but as he noted in his postgame comments, the Cubs still had a chance to win despite his struggles. The 9th inning rally featured some timely hitting and professional plate appearances that had the Reds on the ropes. The Cubs still have two more chances to get wins this weekend.

Also of note, Willson Contreras had to leave the game due to thigh tightness in the 5th after singling. The Cubs definitely can’t afford for him to miss time right now, especially with them missing primary backup Austin Romine for the foreseeable future with a sprained wrist.

On Deck

The Cubs and Reds are back at it Saturday afternoon as both teams send out otherwise excellent pitchers who have been scuffling of late. Zach Davies takes the ball for the Cubs and Luis Castillo will toe the rubber for the Reds. Game time is 3:10pm CT and can be seen on Marquee and heard on 670 The Score.

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