CHICAGO — The Cincinnati Reds have given the Chicago Cubs fits all season. But just when Reds appeared on the verge of winning their sixth straight game against the reigning National League Central champions Youth Brandon Parker Jersey , the Cubs turned to a familiar ally.
The Cubs twice rallied from five runs down on Saturday to pull out an 8-7 victory. They will head into Sunday’s matinee at Wrigley Field with a chance to capture the series. Having staff ace Jon Lester on the mound certainly won’t hurt.
Lester will take his 11-2 record and 2.25 ERA into the start a day after the Cubs produced four eighth-inning runs for their dramatic win.The Cubs’ last eight wins all have come after they fell behind early.
“I love the fight,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters after the team’s 50th win of the season. “Both sides wanted to win (and) we got it in the end.
“We’ve been in this situation all week.”
Added Cubs second baseman Javier Baez, who homered in the seventh inning before the Cubs mounted their latest comeback: “We never quit.”
The rally stunned the Reds, who appeared in line for their sixth win in their last seven games and their 15th in the past 19. Instead, Lester will take the mound in search of his eighth straight victory.
Lester was named NL Pitcher of the Month in June and is tied for the league lead in victories. Lester, who has won seven straight starts dating to May 23, will look to keep rolling against the Reds, against whom he is 6-1 in 14 starts.
In Lester’s last start — an 11-10 victory over the Minnesota Twins — he added an extra bonus — a solo home run. But Lester, who has struggled traditionally from the plate, won’t get too wrapped up in the excitement.
“If I get hits, I get hits,” Lester told reporters after his last outing on July 1. “The home run is awesome, it’s cool, especially at home. But at the end of the day, I know I’m a pitcher and I’m not a hitter.”
The Cubs, who are playing without third baseman Kris Bryant — whom Maddon said will begin a minor league assignment soon — may be without right fielder Jason Heyward. He left Saturday’s loss in the third inning after fouling a ball off his groin.
The Reds enter Sunday’s series finale looking for their sixth straight series. But after Cincinnati touched up Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood for seven runs only to see Jared Hughes surrender a three-run lead, the Reds will attempt to regain their winning ways after Saturday’s shocker.
Cincinnati’s bullpen had Youth Nick Nelson Jersey , until Saturday, been able to protect late leads, which made Saturday’s loss so unfathomable. It marked only the third time this season the Reds lost after leading heading into the eighth inning.
“We’ve come back on a few clubs like that,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman told reporters, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Today, (the Cubs) did it to us.”
Luis Castillo (5-8, 5.53) will start Sunday for the Reds and will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing June. He finished the month 1-3 and allowed at least three earned runs in each of his five outings. Castillo is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.
Tyler Mahle is pitching well in June. Then again, most everyone is pitching well against the Kansas City Royals this month.
Mahle allowed three hits while working into the seventh, Adam Duvall hit a ninth-inning grand slam and the Cincinnati Reds beat the skidding Royals 7-0 on Wednesday night.
Mahle (5-6) allowed only one runner to touch second base in 6 1/3 innings, matching his career longest start. He is 2-0 in June, allowing two earned runs and 14 hits in 16 1/3 innings.
”I was able to make big pitches, get weak contact and guys were able to make plays behind me, and I was able to hold them off long enough for us to score some runs,” Mahle said.
The Royals have lost nine of 10 and have dropped 23 of 33 home games. They have scored 11 runs in their last eight games and 23 in 12 June games. They have scored one run in the past 25 innings.
”We’ve got to be better than that,” losing pitcher Jason Hammel said. ”This losing is getting old.”
Kansas City is hitting .147 this month with runners in scoring position, including 1 for 25 in the past six games.
Duvall greeted rookie reliever Jason Adam with his second grand slam in two weeks, driving a 2-2 pitch over the left-center wall.
”He threw me a couple of curveballs earlier in that at-bat Youth Johnny Townsend Jersey , but I knew he liked his heater,” Duvall said. ”That’s what I was looking for there. It’s a good feeling to come in here and win two.”
Hammel (2-7) allowed three runs on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings. The Royals committed three errors, including two in the seventh helping the Reds score two runs.
”I know guys are not trying to kick the ball, not try to misplay it, but at this level those things affect the outcome,” Hammel said. ”That’s the game in a nutshell.”
Alex Gordon, a five-time American League Gold Glove winner, made two defensive gems in the sixth inning. Curt Casali singled off the left-field bullpen fence and tried to stretch it into a double. Gordon threw him out from the warning track for his fifth outfield assist this season and the 85th of his career.
Two pitches later, Gordon made a diving head-first catch of Billy Hamilton’s liner to rob him of a hit.
”The first thing that went through my mind, is no wonder he’s a gold, platinum glove winner,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”He’s just so fantastic out there.”
Salvador Perez and Hunter Dozier grounded into double plays to end the first two Royals innings.
Mahle retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced after Gordon walked in the second inning.
The Royals didn’t have a runner touch second base until Whit Merrifield doubled with two out in the sixth.
Scooter Gennett had two singles, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. … Jose Peraza has reached base in 15 consecutive games. … Reliever Jared Hughes, who pitched a scoreless inning, has not allowed a run in 15 straight appearances.
Royals: 1B Lucas Duda (right foot plantar fasciitis) is doing on-the-field activity. Yost said he is hopeful Duda will go out on a minor league rehab assignment this weekend.
Reds: They are off Thursday before RHP Matt Harvey will start Friday in Pittsburgh.
Royals: After an off-day Thursday, the Royals will open a three-game home series Friday with the Houston Astros. RHP Jakob Junis will be the KC starter for the opener.
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