CINCINNATI – Arismendy Alcantara needed just one day to get the feel of the big leagues.
After going 0-for-4 in his major league debut on Wednesday, the highly regarded Cubs prospect had four hits and scored the tying and winning runs as Chicago snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-4, 12-inning win over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
“Today, I felt more comfortable,” said Alcantara, who had a double, triple and stolen base before learning after the game that his stay with the Cubs would be extended. “I was just trying to make contact. I was happy I was able to come up and do the job.”
Alcantara and Starlin Castro both reached base with infield singles in the 12th off of J.J. Hoover (1-6). Valbuena, 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, sent a ball to deep right field that Skip Schumaker couldn’t catch up with and was thrown out at the plate trying to stretch it into an inside-the-park home run. The out call stood after a umpire crew chief request for a replay review to make sure the new rule regarding home plate collisions wasn’t violated.
Blake Parker (1-0) pitched the last two innings and the Cubs avoided a rare five-game sweep in Cincinnati.
Ryan Ludwick homered, but the Reds couldn’t overcome a lineup missing more than half of its regulars and the loss of starter Homer Bailey to an injury after five innings.
First baseman Joey Votto is on the disabled list, second baseman Brandon Phillips and center fielder both were out after leaving Wednesday’s game with injuries and right fielder Jay Bruce and catcher Devin Mesoraco didn’t start, but the Reds still pounced on Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks for three first-inning runs.
The Reds were hoping to sweep the Cubs in a five-game series for the first time since 1931, but instead failed for the third time to extend a winning streak to six games.
Alcantara recorded his first major league hit – a two-run double in the fourth off of Homer Bailey – and drove in three runs.
Bailey left the game after feeling pain in the patellar tendon of his right knee while trying to pitch to Castro leading off the sixth. Bailey completed his motion but didn’t throw the ball and left the game after meeting on the mound with manager Bryan Price and trainer Paul Lessard. He was officially diagnosed as having a strained knee.
Bailey allowed three runs and two hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings. He also hit two batters.
Hendricks was making his major league debut and looked like it, opening the game with a four-pitch walk to Chris Heisey and going 3-0 to Skip Schumaker before the right-hander threw a strike. Schumaker walked on the next pitch and Brayan Pena drove in Heisey with a double into the right-field corner. Ludwick and Ramon Santiago followed with RBI singles.
Hendricks settled down to last six innings, allowing five hits and four runs with three walks and seven strikeouts. He also hit a batter.
“I wish I could have that first inning back, but I’ll remember the last five,” said Hendricks, who is expected to be optioned to Triple-A Iowa, since the Cubs won’t need another starter for a while. “I’ll take what I did and move on from there.”
Cubs manager Rick Renteria was happy with what he got from both of his rookies.
“Hendricks kept us in the game,” Renteria said. “He did a nice job. Arismendy did a nice job. We just kept playing.”
Chris Coghlan drove in Hendricks with a double off the left-center field wall in third inning, but Ludwick got that run back in the bottom of the inning with his sixth homer of the season, a 381-foot shot into the left field seats on a 1-0 pitch.
Alcantara scored the tying run in the eighth on Castro’s single off of Jonathan Broxton.
“It’s baseball so you have these situations over the course of the year,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Castro did a nice job getting the hit in the eighth. You have to acknowledge the fact that they played a nice ballgame. (Hendricks) worked around a three-run first inning and really held us down. It wasn’t so much that it got away from us as they went out and outplayed us.”