CINCINNATI – He should know a thing or two about taking part in the postseason, considering he’s been to every round as a player and even made the playoffs as a manager in 2020.
A game two days into May usually doesn’t reach that kinda level from an intensity perspective, but David Ross would beg to differ about a memorable offensive contest at Great American Ballpark on Sunday.
“It felt like a playoff game, to be honest with you,” said Ross of his Cubs team’s contest with the Reds. “Back-and-forth, intense, nobody giving in.”
That was indeed the case as the Cubs as they fell behind three times to Cincinnati only to rally back and tie the game in what was a display of power for both clubs. The visitors hit five homers and the hosts did as well, making it the first time since 1979 that the Cubs along with their opponent had as many longballs in a single game.
But like that contest on May 17, 1979, a 23-22 win by the Phillies at Wrigley Field, the Cubs came out on the short end during what was a “playoff-like’ contest.
Nick Castellanos, who had two homers on the game, got a game-winning hit off Craig Kimbrel in the tenth inning to finish a 13-12 Reds’ victory that had just about everything to offer. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the memorable effort couldn’t get them a series victory in Cincinnati as they fall to 12-16 on the season.
Kris Bryant had two homers on the day with Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, then Ian Happ all adding to the total. The Cubs rallied from deficits of one, two, and four runs to force extra innings, but it wasn’t quite enough for the win.
“I’m so proud of my team,” said Ross of the effort. “Those are one of the more intense games I’ve probably ever been a part of, especially as a manager. These guys didn’t give away an at-bat I didn’t feel like today. I’m just super proud of my team.”
Bryant started the first comeback for the Cubs in the third with his first of two homers on the day and when Anthony Rizzo hit another later in the inning, they led 4-2. The Reds countered with three homers in the bottom half of the inning and four runs to grab a 6-3 lead.
The second homer by Bryant in the fifth and a Nico Hoerner double in the sixth tied the game again, but Cincinnati scored three in the bottom half of the frame to lead 9-6. Javier Baez’s two-run blast to center in the seventh got the lead to one, but Tucker Barnhart and Castellanos went deep the next inning to push the lead to 12-8.
Yet again, the Cubs responded, using a Jake Marisnick RBI hit then a three-run Ian Happ homer in the eighth to pull even again.
Happ’s day would come to an end the bottom half, when he collided with Hoerner on a fly ball in center. He would be carted off the field but Ross said he felt fine after the game and was in “good spirits.”
The Cubs as a team wouldn’t be after Castellanos’ walk-off hit in the tenth inning, but that didn’t take anything away for Ross on a May day that had an October feel in his eyes.