David Bote’s home run to left was the difference as the host Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 on a cold and blustery Friday afternoon.
The Cubs have won five consecutive games and seven of the past eight. They play host to the Reds again Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field in the second game of a three-game series.
Bote’s home run in the fifth spoiled what otherwise was a terrific major league debut by Cincinnati righty Vladimir Gutierrez.
Gutierrez, 25, did not give up his first hit until Javier Baez sent a shot through the infield that third baseman Max Schrock could not handle with one out in the fourth.
Baez stole second to get into scoring position but after a walk to Ian Happ, Gutierrez — who made three starts for Triple-A Louisville this season — struck out Willson Contreras and Rafael Ortega to end the threat and the game remained scoreless into the fifth.
The Cubs got their second hit of the day, along with their only run, when Bote led off the fifth by putting one into the basket above the left field wall.
Gutierrez (0-1) was lifted for a pinch hitter with runners at first and second in the sixth. He went five innings in his debut, giving up two hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Bote’s home run lifted Adbert Alzolay (3-4) to the win as he went 5 2/3 shutout innings, giving up five hits and striking out six while walking three.
The Chicago bullpen — Andrew Chafin, Tommy Nance and Craig Kimbrel — kept the Reds in check the rest of the way, allowing two hits and striking out three.
Kimbrel picked up his 12th save by putting Cincinnati down in order in the ninth.
Bote, Baez and Kris Bryant had the only hits of the day for Chicago. Nick Castellanos went 2-for-4 as the Reds got seven hits in the game.
Cincinnati left 10 runners on base in the game and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The Cubs left four stranded.
-Field Level Media