Cubs starter Justin Steele wasn’t feeling well Friday. But he was even worse as a Cubs hitter.
Steele allowed 10 hits and 6 runs in 3 at bats.2⁄3 It was an inning in a rare poor game. But even prime steals might not have been an issue. The Cubs were hitless through the sixth inning by Reds starter Hunter Greene, and needed Eduardo Salazar, one-off relief pitcher Christopher Morrell starting in the eighth inning, to avoid a 7-0 no-hitter loss. This is because the. 31,946 fans gathered at Wrigley Field.
Green struck out 11 batters, including Dunsby Swanson and Trey Mancini twice. He was pulled out after throwing 110 pitches through the sixth inning. Salazar sent the Cubs 1-2-3 in the seventh inning. But Morrell broke the no-hitter with a sharp single to center. Miles Mastrobuoni then singled to one batter. However, Tucker Barnhart outed to second base and Nico Herner bounced to third base to end the threat.
Reds reliever Fernando Cruz went 1-2-3 in the ninth inning for a shutout victory. The Cubs went 19-2 and had 12 strikeouts.
It was a day of mystical performances. Green, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, went 0-4 with a 4.68 ERA this season. In his last four starts, he allowed 26 hits and 17 runs (6.95 ERA) in 22 innings. But on Friday he looked like Bob Gibson.
The Cubs (22-28) didn’t even come close to hitting against Green. Mike Touchman chose a walk after two outs in the first inning. Ian Happ chose a walk from the 4th inning with 2 outs.
As unusually good as the greens were, so were the unusually bad steels. Steele went 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA on eight of 10 quality starts this season. But after Matt McLain hit an infield hit, Spencer Stair hit a sharp triple to right field to give the Reds a 1-0 lead, despite a great stop by third baseman Mastrobuoni. Tyler Stevenson followed with a sharp single to left to steer and give the Reds a 2-0 lead.
Steele threw two scoreless innings, and in the third inning, he grounded out the first two batters. But just when he seemed to calm down, he lost it again. Stevenson doubled to right field and scored on Nick Senzel’s single to give the Reds a 3-0 lead.
Steele allowed three runs on four more hits in the fourth inning. One of those runs didn’t result in an earned run, but it was due to an error when Steele dropped a throw from first baseman Matt Marvis on Kurt Kassall’s sacrifice bunt. It was such a day for Steele, and it was for the Cubs.