CINCINNATI (AP) – Even with their rested closer on the mound, the Cincinnati Reds couldn’t finish it off.
Taylor Teagarden singled home the tiebreaking run off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night, completing the Chicago Cubs’ biggest comeback of the season for a 6-5 victory and a doubleheader split with Cincinnati.
The Reds won the opener 9-1 behind another strong showing by Mike Leake, who could be traded this month.
The Cubs overcame a five-run deficit to get the split, completed with Teagarden’s pinch-hit single off Chapman (3-4). Coming off a day of rest, the left-hander gave up three hits in the ninth, the last by a .154 hitter with one RBI.
“In that situation, you’ve just got to go with your best,” catcher Brayan Pena said, “and that’s a 100-plus mph fastball.”
Hector Rondon (4-2) escaped a bases-loaded threat in the eighth, and Jason Motte finished it for his sixth save in as many chances.
Leake (8-5) went eight innings in the opener to beat the Cubs for the fifth straight time. Todd Frazier extended his post-home run derby surge with three more hits, including a two-run double in the first inning off Kyle Hendricks (4-5).
Leake was thinking that it might be his last start for the Reds in Cincinnati with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching. He’s in the final year of his contract and the Reds are out of contention.
“Each one from here on could be (the last one),” Leake said. “It’s very ironic that the first one and the last one could be against the same team.”
Leake made his debut against the Pirates in 2010 and has dominated them lately. The right-hander retired the last 16 batters he faced on Wednesday, extending his streak of success against Chicago. He hasn’t lost to the Cubs since April 21, 2012, going 5-0 in his last nine starts against them with a 2.68 ERA.
“It’s always difficult to say goodbye to players,” manager Bryan Price said. “We don’t know if that’s going to happen or not.”
Cubs catcher Kyle Schwarber, who grew up in nearby Middletown, Ohio, went 7 for 16 in the series with an RBI double, two homers and a stolen base.
Both teams had 10-batter, five-run rallies in the nightcap.
The Reds piled up their five in the second inning against Dallas Beeler, who didn’t make it past the inning. Shortstop Starlin Castro booted a potential double-play grounder to extend the rally, and Billy Hamilton doubled home two runs.
The Cubs got their five runs in the top of the third off left-hander Tony Cingrani, who failed to make it out of the inning. Chris Denorfia doubled home two runs, and Kris Bryant tied it with a pinch-hit, two-run single.
The Reds got the bulk of their runs from big innings. Twice in the opener, they sent nine batters to the plate to score four runs.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected in the fourth inning by first base umpire Adam Hamari for arguing a balk call. It was his third ejection of the season.
Cubs: CF Dexter Fowler jammed his right hand on the wall in center while catching Frazier’s fly ball in the fourth. He repeatedly flexed his hand but stayed in the game.
Reds: Cingrani was activated off the DL as the 26th man for the second game. He had been sidelined since June 15 with a strained pitching shoulder. He was returned to Triple-A Louisville after the game.
Cubs: After a day off, the Cubs return to Wrigley Field to start a series against the Phillies. Jon Lester (5-8) faces Jerome Williams (3-7).
Reds: They are off on Thursday as well before going to Colorado for a series. Anthony DeSclafani (5-7) faces Eddie Butler (3-6) in the opener.