MLB Wrap: Peraza’s pinch-hit double in 8th rallies Reds over Cubs

Center fielder Ian Happ ran a long way and thought he had a chance to catch Jose Peraza’s fly ball. He stretched his glove and just missed.

“Close,” Happ said. “Centimeters.”

Peraza’s long fly ball landed for a bases-loaded double in the eighth inning on Thursday night and rallied the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs that avoided a series sweep.

Despite the loss, the defending World Series champions headed for Philadelphia optimistic about how the second half of the season is turning out so far. They’re 25-13 since the All-Star break – second only to the Dodgers – and lead Milwaukee by three games in the NL Central.

“Lost a tough one tonight, but we go into Philly still feeling pretty good about the way we’re throwing the ball, the way we’re swinging the bats, the way we’re catching the ball,” Jake Arrieta said.

They were on target for a sixth straight win Thursday, up 2-1 with two Reds out and nobody on in the eighth. The Reds then loaded the bases on a pair of hits and an intentional walk from Pedro Strop (3-4). Peraza was 0 for 4 off the bench this season when he pinch-hit and made solid contact on the first pitch, sending it high and deep to center.

“I was in and over a little bit,” Happ said. “He put it right in no-man’s land. I ran a pretty long way for it. I just couldn’t haul it in.”

The Cubs intentionally walked Eugenio Suarez to load the bases and bring up Peraza.

“As soon as I saw that, I said, ‘I’ve got to make good contact,”‘ Peraza said through a translator. “I got a good pitch to hit in the middle of the plate.”

Strop let in another run with a wild pitch.

Michael Lorenzen (8-2) fanned three of the four batters he faced. Raisel Iglesias picked up his 24th save in 25 chances.

Happ – a star at the University of Cincinnati – hit a solo homer, and Arrieta gave another solid performance , allowing only one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings. Arrieta is 5-1 in eight starts since the All-Star break.

Kris Bryant was back at third base after missing one game. He was hit on the side of the left hand by a pitch on Tuesday night and got one day off. The National League’s MVP set up Cincinnati’s first run with a fielding error, and had a hand in the Cubs’ go-ahead run. Bryant doubled in the sixth and came around on Javier Baez’s single for a 2-1 lead.

Other MLB results from Thursday night:

Arizona Diamondback 3-2 New York Mets
Miami Marlins 9-8 Philadelphia Phillies
New York Yankees 6-10 Detroit Tigers
Toronto Blue Jays 0-2 Tampa Bay Rays
Colorado Rockies 3-2 Kansas City Royals
LA Dodgers 5-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox 6-13 Cleveland Indians
San Diego Padres 4-3 St Louis Cardinals
Washington Nationals 5-4 Houston Astros
Minnesota Twins 1-5 Chicago White Sox
Texas Rangers 3-0 La Angels