Stephens excels in debut as Reds slip past Cubs
CINCINNATI -- Right-hander Jackson Stephens allowed three runs in five innings and also had a two-run single in his major-league debut to lift the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
Adam Duvall had an RBI double and Joey Votto went 2-for-3 with a walk to get within three hits of 1,500 for his career as Cincinnati (35-45) has taken the first two games of the weekend series.
Saturday's start might be the only one for Stephens (1-0), who was recalled from Triple-A Louisville prior to the game. The 23-year-old made quite an impression with eight strikeouts and only one walk to earn his first career win.
Raisel Iglesias pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his 15th save.
Jon Jay hit his first home run of the season and Willson Contreras added a two-run shot for Chicago (40-41).
The Cubs were hoping Thursday's ninth-inning rally at Washington would provide a spark heading into this series, but instead they have dropped the first two games to a Reds team they've beaten in 23 of the past 30 meetings.
Stephens allowed three hits through the first two innings with four strikeouts. But, he ran into issues in his second time through the Cubs order.
Jay homered with one out. Two batters later, Contreras crushed a 1-1 pitch deep to left-center, making the score 3-0. It was Contreras' 10th home run of the season.
Cubs starter Eddie Butler (4-3) allowed four earned runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Duvall's RBI double and a bases-loaded walk by Butler cut the Reds' deficit to 3-2 in the fourth.
Jackson then laced Butler's first pitch past a diving Addison Russell for his first major league hit, driving in two runs to put Cincinnati ahead 4-3.
The Cubs missed several scoring chances on Saturday. They had inning-ending double plays in the second and sixth innings.
NOTES: Cubs Ben Zobrist was reinstated from the disabled list on Saturday. He arrived at Great American Ball Park shortly before the game and grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. ... OF Mark Zagunis was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. ... Cubs LF Jon Jay's last homer came on May 24, 2016 off the Giants' Jeff Samardzija. Jay has 32 career homers. ... Cubs 3B Kris Bryant returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained right ankle and went 1-for-4. ... According to STATS, Stephens is the first Reds pitcher to record multiple RBIs in his debut since Paul Moskau on June 21, 1977 at Philadelphia.