CINCINNATI (AP) — Jake Arrieta wishes he would’ve held onto the ball a bit longer.
Billy Hamilton stole his 51st base and the Cincinnati Reds swiped six in all, beating the Chicago Cubs 7-2 Thursday.
The Reds stole six times in the first four innings, using six hits and four walks to build a 6-0 lead against Arrieta (7-5).
All six steals came at second base. Cubs catcher John Baker wasn’t able to throw out anyone.
“I was bad at holding the runners. That’s my fault,” Arrieta said. “I wasn’t giving Baker an opportunity to throw them out.”
“I’ve got to vary my times better at holding the ball. They were aggressive on the bases and at the plate. They were able to get good reads and good jumps,” he said.
Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier each stole twice, and Kristopher Negron added one more.
Cincinnati stole three in a three-run second inning and two in a three-run fourth.
Arrieta had seven good starts and a rain-shortened outing coming into the game, but let the Reds run wild in his four innings.
“Jake actually had good stuff,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “His command wasn’t very good. He didn’t have his Jake-like command.”
Controlling the running game hasn’t been a problem for him until today.
“If that was the case, you would’ve seen it all season,” Renteria said.”
Cubs rookie Jorge Soler doubled and singled in his second major league game and drove in a run. He homered and singled in his debut on Wednesday.
Dylan Axelrod (1-0) pitched five scoreless innings and struck out eight.
The Cubs managed just two hits against Axelrod. Chicago scored twice in the ninth.
The Cubs made two errors one of which led to an unearned run.
“The last couple of games have been a little rough for us,” Renteria said. “We have to play clean baseball. Axelrod mixed up his pitches and kept us off-balance.”
Hamilton set the tone right away. He drew a leadoff walk in the first and stole second on the next pitch.
Hamilton went 2 for 2 with a double and walked twice. Dee Gordon of the Dodgers began the day leading the majors with 58 steals.
Negron and Cozart each stole and scored in the second. Cozart and Frazier both stole and scored in the fourth.
Cozart had three hits, including a double, and scored three times.
Reds relievers Pedro Villareal and Logan Ondrusek combined for three perfect innings.
Cubs: 1B Anthony Rizzo was out of the lineup for the second straight day with tightness in his lower back. Renteria hopes to have him back for the upcoming series in St. Louis.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey and 1B Joey Votto are progressing at a slow rate. The Reds plan to call up seven to nine players on Monday when rosters expand to 40, according to manager Bryan Price.
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (5-1) will open the four-game series in St. Louis on Friday. He had a rain-shortened, two-inning start Aug. 23 against Baltimore.
Cubs LHP Felix Doubront will come off the DL to start the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader in St. Louis. LHP Tsuyoshi Wada will start the second game.
The Cubs started four players who were 24 or younger: Veteran Starlin Castro (24), who made his debut at 20, Javier Baez (21), Soler (22) and Arismendy Alcantara (22) were in the starting lineup.