Puig, Reds look to take series from Cubs

The Cincinnati Reds finally have a walk-off victory to boast about after producing their first since Aug. 17 of last year on Wednesday.

And slumping Yasiel Puig was the hero.

The Reds will look to carry over the momentum when they host the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in the finale of a three-game series.

Puig has struggled in his first season with the Reds but he came through on Wednesday by drilling a bases-loaded, one-out single that one-hopped the wall in right center to score pinch runner Michael Lorenzen with the winning run in a 6-5, 10-inning triumph.

Puig flipped his bat before running to first and the club wildly celebrated.

"All the time, every day, when I'm going out, it's to do the best I can," Puig told reporters afterward. "I don't try to be the hero or try to do the best on the team. I try to help my team to win."

Puig, who went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, is batting .212 with seven homers and 23 RBI.

He was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the offseason and has yet to find a groove with his new club.

But Cincinnati manager David Bell liked his approach with the game on the line.

"You can just pick up on his energy. You could absolutely tell he wanted to be in that spot right there," Bell told reporters of Puig. "That's the mindset you need in a situation like that -- aggressive, ready to hit.

"It's like he saw it as an opportunity. He wasn't defensive. He was aggressive. The pitcher (Brad Brach) is on the ropes there and had to throw a strike."

The comeback was made possible by third baseman Eugenio Suarez's tying two-run homer in the eighth. Puig's hit finished it and gave Cincinnati its fourth win in the past six games.

The setback was just the third in the past 16 games for Chicago. The Cubs won Tuesday's series opener 3-1.

Shortstop Addison Russell hit a two-run homer in Wednesday's game, his first since recently returning from a 40-game suspension for a domestic violence incident.

Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber also hit homers for the Cubs, who had just two at-bats with runners in scoring position, coming up empty each time.

Shortstop Javier Baez extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games but struck out in four of five at-bats.

"We have to do a much better job than we did today," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said of the offensive attack. "I also believe that more consistent hitting provides the energy ... I think there was a little frustration among the guys. That's what we got to get beyond."

Maddon said that the Cubs will be without first baseman Anthony Rizzo (back) on Thursday for the fourth straight contest.

Left-hander Jose Quintana (4-2, 3.50 ERA) will start the series finale for Chicago.

Quintana had a four-game winning streak snapped last Friday when he gave up three runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 30-year-old is 3-2 with a 3.69 ERA in six career starts against the Reds. Joey Votto is 7-for-14 with four doubles against Quintana.

Right-hander Luis Castillo, who has won four straight decisions, will be on the mound for Cincinnati.

Castillo (4-1, 1.76) struck out a season-best 11 in six shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants while winning last Friday. The 26-year-old gave up two hits and walked five.

Castillo is 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs. Baez is just 2-for-11 with four strikeouts against Castillo.

--Field Level Media
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