CHICAGO — Anthony Rizzo hit a grand slam in the first inning and Javier Baez scored on a wild pitch in the ninth as the Chicago Cubs overcame a late Cincinnati Reds rally to win 7-6 on Wednesday night.
Baez opened the bottom of the ninth with a double off Wandy Peralta (3-3) and pinch-hitter Jon Jay walked. Then, Ben Zobrist moved the runners with a groundout.
Reliever Blake Wood came in and struck out Albert Almora Jr. With two outs and Kris Bryant batting, Wood threw a breaking pitch that got away from catcher Tucker Barnhart for the game winner.
Cincinnati’s Joey Votto had his streak of reaching base at least twice in a game come to an end. Votto did reach once but he fell one game shy of tying Ted Williams’ record of 21 straight games.
Wade Davis (3-1) pitched a perfect ninth, redeeming a bullpen that nearly spoiled John Lackey’s strong outing by giving up three home runs and surrendering a five-run lead.
The third career grand slam of Rizzo’s career came after both teams loaded the bases with their first three batters of the game.
The Reds managed just one run in the top of the first, while Rizzo regained the lead for Lackey with an opposite field blast, his 28th of the season.
Cincinnati put on seven baserunners in the first two innings against Lackey, but got just the one run in his six innings.
Lackey allowed one baserunner over his final four innings, retiring the final 10 without allowing a ball out of the infield. He had six strikeouts and walked three. Lackey is 5-0 with a 3.06 ERA since the All-Star break after going 5-9 with a 5.20 ERA in the season’s first half. He was trying for a career-best sixth win but settled for the no-decision.
Lackey also caught Reds starter Homer Bailey not paying attention to him on the bases for his first career steal in the fourth inning. He was later picked off second base after straying following a walk by Zobrist.
Bailey allowed six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, waking five and striking out 10 against the first-place Cubs, who blew a 6-1 lead.
Phillip Ervin became the first Reds player since Juan Francisco in 2009 to homer on his first career hit when his solo shot off reliever Hector Rondon made it 6-2 in the seventh inning.
Two batters later, Zack Cozart’s home run off Rondon made it 6-4, forcing Cubs manager Joe Maddon to insert Brian Duensing in the game. He got Votto to ground out, ending the rally and Votto’s chance at history.
Votto singled in the first but took Lackey to the warning track in the third inning before the pitcher snared a line drive up the middle in the fifth inning to retire the first baseman.
Adam Duvall, a pinch-hitter, took the second pitch from reliever Carl Edwards Jr. into the bleachers to make it 6-6 in the eighth inning.
For the Cubs, who beat the Reds for the 26th time in 34 games, Alex Avila had an RBI single in the third inning, and Tommy La Stella added a pinch-hit RBI double in the sixth.
The Reds got the first three hitters of the game on base but only managed one run as left fielder Kyle Schwarber stopped the rally by throwing Cozart out at home plate after a fly ball by Scooter Gennett.
Maddon was thrown out of the game by umpire Ryan Blakney after arguing a call in the ninth inning.
Zobrist squared to bunt on an 0-1 pitch but was hit in the leg by the ball. Since he didn’t pull the bunt attempt back, Blakney ruled the pitch a strike, infuriating Maddon.
Schwarber reached base in his first three plate appearances, bringing his streak to eight before striking out in the seventh inning.
He had struck out in his eight previous at-bats before the streak.
Bryant, the reigning National League MVP, spoke glowingly about Votto before the game.
“He’s the best player ever,” Bryant said. “He’s my favorite player. I love watching him, I love talking to him.”
EYE FOR TALENT
Longtime Reds scout Gene Bennett died on Wednesday, the team announced. He was 89.
Bennett’s signings included Don Gullett, Chris Sabo, Barry Larkin and Paul O’Neill. He joined the Reds in 1952, signing as a player, and retired from the front office in 2011.
Reds: RHP Robert Stephenson (bruised right shoulder) was scheduled to return to the rotation against the Braves on Saturday in Atlanta. He returned from the disabled list on Sunday in Milwaukee and pitched two scoreless innings against the Brewers out of the bullpen. . OF Scott Schebler (strained left rotator cuff) went 0 for 2 with a walk as a DH in his first game on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday and then had two hits on Wednesday. Reds manager Bryan Price said Schebler reported “no issues whatsoever” after Tuesday’s game.
Cubs: RHP Koji Uehara (neck strain) threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and is scheduled to throw another on Saturday. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since Aug. 9.
The teams will close the four-game series Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field with LHP Jon Lester (8-7, 3.99 ERA) pitching for the home team against RHP Scott Feldman (7-7, 4.43).