CINCINNATI — Down by five runs early, the Chicago Cubs managed to pull one out in a most improbable way: A .154 hitter getting a single off a 101 mph pitch.
Taylor Teagarden singled home the tiebreaking run off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday night, completing the Cubs' biggest comeback of the season for a 6-5 victory and a doubleheader split with the Cincinnati Reds.
"That's about as crazy as crazy gets," manager Joe Maddon said. "Talk about your esprit de corps moments. Almost everybody was involved in that win. Even the pitchers were putting their spikes on."
Cincinnati won the opener 9-1 behind another strong showing by Mike Leake, who could be traded this month.
The Cubs overcame a five-run deficit to get the split, completed with Teagarden's pinch-hit single up the middle off a 101 mph fastball from Chapman (3-4).
"I knew he was coming after me," said Teagarden, who had only one RBI heading into that at-bat. "I wasn't looking for anything off-speed — 100 mph, something I could get my barrel on."
The Reds forced Maddon's hand by intentionally walking Jorge Soler to bring up the pitcher's spot. Maddon's only position player left was Teagarden, who looked bad while striking out earlier in the series.
"That's the incongruency of this game at its best," Maddon said. "He gets blown away at 90 mph (earlier in series) and takes a 100 mph pitch up the middle. Can you explain that to me? I can't."
Hector Rondon (4-2) escaped a bases-loaded threat in the eighth, and Jason Motte finished it for his sixth save in as many chances.
Leake (8-5) went eight innings in the opener to beat the Cubs for the fifth straight time. Todd Frazier extended his post-home run derby surge with three more hits, including a two-run double in the first inning off Kyle Hendricks (4-5).
Cubs catcher Kyle Schwarber, who grew up in nearby Middletown, Ohio, went 7 for 16 in the series with an RBI double, two homers and a stolen base.
Both teams had 10-batter, five-run rallies in the nightcap.
The Reds piled up their five in the second inning against Dallas Beeler, who didn't make it past the inning. Shortstop Starlin Castro booted a potential double-play grounder to extend the rally, and Billy Hamilton doubled home two runs.
The Cubs got their five runs in the top of the third off left-hander Tony Cingrani, who failed to make it out of the inning. Chris Denorfia doubled home two runs, and Kris Bryant tied it with a pinch-hit, two-run single.
The Reds got the bulk of their runs from big innings. Twice in the opener, they sent nine batters to the plate to score four runs.
Maddon was ejected in the fourth inning by first base umpire Adam Hamari for arguing a balk call. It was his third ejection of the season.
Cubs: CF Dexter Fowler jammed his right hand on the wall in center while catching Frazier's fly ball in the fourth. He repeatedly flexed his hand but stayed in the game.
Reds: Cingrani was activated off the DL. He had been sidelined since June 15 with a strained pitching shoulder. He was returned to Triple-A Louisville after the game.
Cubs: After a day off, the Cubs return to Wrigley Field to start a series against the Phillies. Jon Lester (5-8) faces Jerome Williams (3-7).
Reds: They're off on Thursday as well before going to Colorado for a series. Anthony DeSclafani (5-7) faces Eddie Butler (3-6) in the opener.
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