As if the Reds' spirits couldn't be dampened anymore, rain delayed the meaningless game with the Chicago Cubs for 2:31 before a painful 4-1 loss .
If a meaningless and winless trip to Washington on Monday was a "kick in the nuts" as Bryan Price called it, this soggy delay was a golden shower.
The loss marked the Reds' longest losing streak since it dropped 11 in a row June 14 through June 24 in 1998.
Then, when the game started, Josh Smith, the 59th straight rookie starter, gave up three hits, walked a batter and hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch as the Cubs scored four times. For Rizzo it was the 30th time he's been plunked. Only Don Baylor in 1986 has been hit 30 times and hit 30 home runs in the same season, as Rizzo has this season.
Dexter Fowler opened the game with a ground single past Ivan De Jesus Jr., who started at secondbase in place of Brandon Phillips for the second straight day. Kyle Schwarber walked. Smith struck out Kris Bryant before hitting Rizzo to load the bases. Tommy La Stella appeared to hit into a double play, a one-hop to Joey Votto, who threw home and took a return throw but the ball hit off La Stella's foot in the batter's box. After a mild argument by Price, La Stella hit a fly that Jason Bourgeois misjudged but speared before it got over his head. Fowler scored. Miguel Montero doubled to drive in two runs. Javier Baez hit an RBI single and reached third as Jay Bruce drew two errors for fumbling the grounder and throwing it past everyone.
"It was big to get through five innings after that debacle in the first inning," Smith said. "The bullpen has worked a lot lately. I wanted to go six innings. It would have been nice to get out of that inning but Bryan told me it did hit his foot."
The Reds got one hit off Cubs' starter Dan Haren. Eugenio Suarez singled with two outs in the second. Haren retired everyone else through five innings. Bourgeois beat out a slow roller to short with two outs in the sixth inning.
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Smith lasted five innings and settled down somewhat after the first, still he walked five batters. He managed to strike out seven batters but allowed seven base runners, including three in the third and two in the fourth even though the Cubs stranded them all.
The Reds got a lovely parting gift from Cubs' rightfielder Austin Jackson. Bourgeois easy fly glanced off his glove for a three-base error. De Jesus Jr. hit a groundball to Rizzo at first to send Bourgeois home.
Joey Votto struck out twice and flied out to shallow right, including a foul bunt with two strikes in an attempt to extend his on-base streak to 46 games. Votto struck out for the first out of the seventh inning. He needed one base runner to be stranded or score to get a fourth and final attempt. Tucker Barnhart's double gave Votto the chance. Votto drew a walk in the ninth from Carl Edwards Jr. to reach base in his 46th straight game, two short of Pete Rose's team record set in 1978.
Votto appeared to be in discomfort in the first inning.
"It is a muscular issue in his back but he wanted to stay in there," Bryan Price said. "He's dealt with it before. He wanted to fight through it. It was just the streak either it was about grinding out the season. It says a lot when a veteran wants to grind it out."