Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ben Lively made history on Tuesday, August 1, but not in the way that he was hoping for.
On a perfect Chicago night, in a must-win ballgame, the Chicago Cubs showed up in a huge way, beating the Cincinnati Reds 20-9. It was a huge win for the team, as it pulled them closer to the Reds in a tightening NL Central race. It was a big statement on trade deadline day, after the club had made the controversial decision to buy rather than sell.
It wasn't a joyful occasion for everyone, however, as Reds starting pitcher Ben Lively entered the record books for all of the wrong reasons, with perhaps the worst start at the MLB level this year. He surrendered 13 of Chicago's 21 hits, only struck out two Cubs and, most notably, surrendered a whopping 13 earned runs. Nowadays, a starter usually gets yanked when he's struggling to that degree, so manager David Bell's decision to let Lively stay in the game and stick it out was somewhat unprecedented.
History For Reds Pitcher Ben Lively
Lively became the first pitcher to allow as many as 13 earned runs in one outing since May 2011, when Vin Mazzaro gave up 14 — which tied for the most in any game since World War II. Lively joined a very undistinguished, yet quite exclusive, club, as his outing was just the fourth featuring 13-plus earned runs since 2000, and the seventh since 1950.
The Reds pitcher also made history as the first pitcher ever with 13-plus earned runs and four-plus home runs in less than five innings of work.
Reds SP Ben Lively is done for the night at Wrigley Field. His line: 4.0 IP, 13 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 4 HR.
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) August 2, 2023
Cubs deadline acquisition Jeimer Candelario made his debut and had a fantastic outing for the Cubs, racking up hits in each of his first four at-bats. The Cubs hit seven home runs, including two off the bat of Dansby Swanson, as well as one from Cody Bellinger that smashed the digital scoreboard in left field. These three, as well as a three-run blast from Mike Tauchman, were all hit off of Lively, who had a brutal day as his season ERA ballooned from 3.76 to 5.20.
Interestingly enough, the 20-run performance was payback of sorts. The Reds beat the Cubs 20-5 in a game just over a year ago, in May 2022, creating yet another anomaly on a special Tuesday night on Chicago's North Side. We'll see if the Reds can get a more immediate type of revenge, with the two teams facing off again on Wednesday night.
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