Hunter Greene finished his rookie year with eight strikeouts over six shutout innings to lead the Cincinnati Reds past the visiting Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Monday night.
Greene (5-13) was in complete control for most of the night, allowing just two hits, walking one and hitting a batter as the Reds (61-99) snapped a six-game losing streak. Derek Law and Buck Farmer each pitched a scoreless inning before Alexis Diaz finished out the game in the ninth for his 10th save.
The game ended in bizarre fashion after Diaz walked the first two batters in the ninth.
With one out, Ian Happ hit a grounder to second baseman Spencer Steer, who threw to shortstop Jose Barrero. However, Barrero left the bag early before throwing to first base for the second out. Donovan Solano threw back to Barrero, who applied the tag on Esteban Quiroz to end the game. Quiroz had left the bag assuming he was already out.
Zach McKinstry scored on the play, providing Chicago’s only run.
In six starts since the All-Star break, Greene showed the promise that the Reds believe will make him a future ace. He posted a 1.02 ERA, striking out 51 and walking just eight in 35 1/3 innings.
Greene also made the athletic play of the night for the first out in the sixth inning. Christopher Morel grounded a sharp one-hopper right back to the mound, and Greene flipped his glove behind his back and knocked the ball to the ground. He recovered quickly and underhanded the ball to first to nip Morel by a half-step.
The Reds also avoided, for one night, becoming the second team in franchise history to lose 100 games in a season.
McKinstry and Yan Gomes recorded the only hits for the Cubs (73-87), who had their seven-game winning streak snapped.
The Reds broke through in the third with two runs.
Barrero worked a leadoff walk and stole second against starter and loser Hayden Wesneski (3-2). TJ Friedl then hit dribbler up the first base line that Wesneski fielded but threw away, allowing Barrero to score.
After a walk to Jonathan India, the Reds attempted a double steal, but Friedl was thrown out at third, and left the game when he grabbed the back of his right leg. India scored on a bloop double down the right field line by Kyle Farmer.
India added some insurance in the eighth when he doubled home Stuart Fairchild with the third Reds run.