- Associated Press - Friday, April 24, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - The Chicago Cubs escaped a bases-loaded threat before taking full advantage of one of their own.

Jonathan Herrera singled home the tiebreaking run in the 11th inning, and David Ross followed with a bases-loaded double that sent the Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.

After losing back-to-back games for the first time this season, Chicago pulled one out with a big rally against a struggling bullpen. It was Chicago’s first extra-inning win on the road, leaving the Cubs 3-0 in extra innings overall.

“I’ve always thought really highly of a team that can win in extra innings on the road,” manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s always been my measuring stick of a good team.

“I’ll take the attitude of these guys any day of the week.”

Anthony Rizzo homered, doubled and started Chicago’s winning rally with a single off Burke Badenhop (0-1) as the Reds’ bullpen failed again. The Reds’ bullpen has a 5.36 ERA, worst in the National League.

Herrera singled home the go-ahead run, and Ross doubled home two more. Starting pitcher Travis Wood drove in the final run with a pinch-hit grounder.

Jason Motte (1-0) got Jay Bruce to foul out with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, keeping it tied at 3. Hector Rondon retired the side in order in the 11th for his fourth save in five chances.

Cincinnati stranded eight runners and went 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position.

“We had opportunities to pull it out,” Bruce said. “We just couldn’t come through tonight. The writing was on the wall.”

Jon Lester, the Cubs’ biggest offseason acquisition, remained winless in four starts. He got a six-year, $155 million deal last December that included a $30 million signing bonus - a record for a major leaguer.

Lester allowed three runs in six innings and fanned a season-high 10 batters. He has allowed at least three runs in each start. The left-hander couldn’t slow down Billy Hamilton, who singled twice, stole three bases and scored a pair of runs.

Still, it was an improvement over the first three starts.

“I’m learning,” said Lester, who had spent his whole career in the American League. “New league, new faces, new guys. I’m kind of figuring them out as we go.”

Mike Leake gave up three runs in seven innings, striking out a season-high nine. Leake is 8-2 career against the Cubs and 5-0 in eight starts against them at Great American Ball Park.

Leake gave up Rizzo’s two-run homer in the fourth and Chris Coghlan’s solo shot in the seventh that tied it at 3. Coghlan is 9 for 11 career against Leake with three doubles and a pair of homers.


The Reds reunited most of their 1990 World Series championship team and wore replicas of their 1990 uniforms for the game.


The Reds showed a photo of the late Ernie Banks on the videoboard and observed a moment of silence in his memory before the game. The Hall of Fame slugger, who spent his entire major league career with the Cubs, died on Jan. 23.


Cubs: Reliever Pedro Strop wasn’t available because of a sore foot.

Reds: C Devin Mesoraco is still limited to a pinch-hit role because of a sore left hip. He hopes to try catching in the bullpen in the next few days. Mesoraco has been limited to two pinch-hit appearances in the last 11 games.


Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (2-1) makes his second appearance against the Reds this season. He allowed three runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss at Wrigley Field on April 14.

Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (2-0) hasn’t given up a run in his last 15 innings, a career best. He makes his fourth start with the Reds, who got him from Miami in the trade for Mat Latos. He got the win in the 3-2 victory at Wrigley on April 14, throwing seven shutout innings.


Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjoekay

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