CINCINNATI -- When Scott Feldman was with the Cubs in 2013, he threw a complete-game three-hitter, his career best in terms of low hits. On Friday, the right-hander flirted with history, holding the Cubs hitless through 5 2/3 innings in a 5-0 Reds victory at Great American Ball Park.
On a sticky 85-degree summer night, Feldman struck out seven, walked two and gave up two singles over seven innings. The Cubs' best opportunity came in the sixth, but they were unable to take advantage of a miscue by second baseman Jose Peraza. With two outs, Jon Jay reached on Peraza's fielding error and rookie Ian Happ, who played at the University of Cincinnati, ended Feldman's bid with a solid single to right-center. But Feldman got Anthony Rizzo to fly out and strand both.
"I had a pretty good mix going tonight with [catcher Tucker Barnhart]," Feldman said. "We talked about it before the game, trying to mix pitches. It's been a pretty good feeling. I feel like I don't really shake much with him. He just throws it down there. We've got a really good game plan of what he wants to do, and just kind of go from there."
Feldman started the day with some command issues. But in the second, after missing high and inside on a pitch to Victor Caratini, he got a mound visit from Barnhart, who pointed out something off with his pitcher's mechanics.
"He saw a little something that I was pulling off a little bit," Feldman said. "He's really good at picking that stuff up. He just came out and said something, and we kind of cruised along pretty good from there."
Happ nearly gave his college buddies something to cheer about in the eighth when he hit a fly ball to the warning track in left with two outs and one on. The Cubs' offense continued to sputter without Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, who are all nursing injuries. Bryant, who sprained his right ankle Wednesday night, was available to pinch-hit.
"[Feldman] took advantage of our aggressiveness and really got us to chase a lot out of the zone," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Give him credit -- he knows what he's doing. He used our aggressiveness against us."
Said the Cubs' Willson Contreras: "We were swinging at every single first pitch, and he took advantage. I feel it's harder for us to hit slow pitches than fastball pitches."
The Reds didn't have a problem getting hits in the fourth when they rattled off four straight, including a three-run homer by Adam Duvall, to give Feldman all the support he needed.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Big hits:Billy Hamilton doubled to left-center to lead off the Reds' fourth, but he got greedy and tried to stretch his hit into a triple. Center fielder Albert Almora Jr. threw a perfect strike to third baseman Javier Baez to nab Hamilton. That didn't stop the Reds. Zack Cozart, activated from the disabled list on Friday, followed with a single and reached third on Joey Votto's double down the right-field line. Duvall then cranked a 1-1 pitch from starter Mike Montgomery a Statcast-projected 356 feet to right to give the Reds a 3-0 lead.
"I made the one mistake to Duvall and left a cutter up out over, but that's baseball," Montgomery said. "I just had to keep making good pitches after that." More >
Backstop: Rookie Caratini, called up from Triple-A Iowa when Miguel Montero was designated for assignment, made his first start on Friday. Votto tested him in the eighth when he doubled, then stole third. Caratini's throw skipped into left field, and Votto scored on the error for a 5-0 lead. The Cubs lead the National League in stolen bases allowed (67).
"It's a young group, it just is. That's actually a great thing, it's not a bad thing, that we have this many young players who are Major League caliber. Probably the last thing to come is the development of the bats at the Major League level. We can play great defense, we can run the bases, we can throw well. Our bats are really inconsistent with zero runs tonight." -- Maddon on the Cubs
Cubs and Reds players acknowledged umpire John Tumpane, who saved a woman from jumping off the Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh earlier in the week. Reds first baseman Votto and third baseman Eugenio Suarez made a point of stopping to shake hands with Tumpane before taking their places on the field at the start of the game. Chicago's Jay tapped Tumpane on the back, and Almora tipped his cap. Tumpane was at second base on Friday.
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Eddie Butler will start on Saturday for the Cubs. The right-hander scattered four hits over five shutout innings in his last start against the Nationals. This will be his first outing against the Reds this season. The Cubs are hopeful Bryant (ankle) can start. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CT.
Reds:Jackson Stephens will become the eighth Reds pitcher and fifth starter to make his Major League debut this season when he pitches at 4:10 ET. In 15 appearances (14 starts) with Triple-A Louisville this season, Stephens was 4-4 with a 4.97 ERA.