CINCINNATI – There were a number of moments where the Cubs stood their ground over the course of nine innings on Saturday.
Zach Davies shook off a rough beginning to keep his team in the game, allowing them to rally to grab the lead in the middle innings. When one of their core players dealt with a reaction from the opposing pitcher after a strikeout, another was quick to defend him.
When the team’s closer ran into trouble, he came through like he has all season long.
All these ways in which the Cubs stood their ground at Great American Ballpark were enough to get out with an eventful win over the Reds.
Despite a 2-0 deficit in the first inning, the Cubs rallied and then held on for a 3-2 victory after a comeback attempt on Friday night fell short.
Davies overcame two first inning runs to throw three scoreless frames. The pitcher got one run back on a sacrifice fly of his own in the third, then Jason Heyward tied it with a hit the next inning.
Nico Hoerner’s opposite-field single in the sixth put the Cubs up for good and the bullpen took care of the rest.
Craig Kimbrel shook off two hits to lead off the ninth but got out of it with two strikeouts and a groundout from Nick Castellanos to get his fifth save of the season. It continues the closer’s impressive start to the season where he’s yet to allow a run in 11 innings over ten appearances.
The moment of the game, however, may have come in the eighth inning, when the Cubs took exception to Cincinnati reliever Amir Garrett after a strikeout of Anthony Rizzo. He fist pumped and screamed toward the hitter, and Javier Baez didn’t like that, exchanging words with the pitcher then making his way out to the field.
While the benches emptied, no punches were thrown, and the game continued on.
“Like Rossy (Cubs manager David Ross) said, he’s got a style, we all get that. I’m not going to let him or anyone disrespect my teammates or my team,” said Baez when asked about the incident after the game. “It was not a big situation. I’m going to try to stay professional with this but it doesn’t matter who does it again. If somebody else does it again, we will go out there again. That’s not a problem.
“Like I said, he needs to respect the game. If you don’t respect the game and you don’t respect us, then that’s going to happen because he’s doing that to us, he’s not doing that to their teammates. He’s not doing that to pump their teammates, he’s disrespecting us, and as long as he do it, do it, we’ll be there, too.”
Ross was behind Baez for his decision to challenge Garrett after his exchange with Rizzo.
“Javi respects, I feel like, wants respect in the game and to be disrespected by another player on the field kinda challenges your manhood. This is a man’s game. I think those are things that I wouldn’t have stood for as a player, that’s for sure. I would have been first one in line for that. I can’t do that anymore,” said Ross. “I don’t fault any of our guys. That’s not the way that I think baseball is intended to go, but I think that’s his style, I don’t agree with it. I think it’s garbage, but he’s not on my team.”