Seiya Suzuki makes costly error for Chicago Cubs and hits tying grand slam against Reds

CHICAGO (AP) — Seiya Suzuki is going to be thinking about that play in right field for a long time. Even after that grand slam.

Suzuki had a wild second inning for the Chicago Cubs during a 7-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on a wet Saturday night at Wrigley Field.

First, the Japanese slugger committed an error that led to four unearned runs for Cincinnati. Then he responded with his first career grand slam — a big swing that seemed to be of little consolation to Suzuki after the mistake in the field.

“As a player, you've got to make those routine plays,” Suzuki said through a translator. “I'm going to try to practice and get out there during BP. Just make sure I make those routine plays moving forward.”

The start of the game was delayed for almost 3 1/2 hours because of rain, and the showers continued with varying intensity through the first few innings.

Cincinnati had the bases loaded with two out in the second when Luke Maile hit a lazy flyball to right off Justin Steele. But the ball went off the side of Suzuki's glove.

All three runners scored, and Stuart Fairchild followed with an RBI single that lifted the Reds to a 4-0 lead. What was left of the announced crowd of 36,430 then cheered sarcastically when Suzuki caught Elly De La Cruz's flyball for the final out of the inning.

Chicago loaded the bases in the bottom of the second on three walks by Hunter Greene. After Mike Tauchman struck out swinging for the second out, Suzuki sent a charge through the waterlogged crowd when he drove a full-count fastball deep to left.

“You're going to be down after that happens and he went and he had a great at-bat in a huge spot,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “And with one swing of the bat, the game's back to even. So credit to Seiya for staying in it, because you feel awful when you do that."

Suzuki's sixth homer traveled 400 feet with a 106.9 mph exit velocity. The Japanese slugger also hit his first triple of the season in the first on a drive to center with a 103.1 mph exit velocity.

But he struck out swinging in the fourth, and struck out again in the seventh with a runner on second and no outs.

“To be honest with you, when I reflect on my at-bats today, I can't really tell you how I'm feeling,” Suzuki said. “It was more of that play in the second inning, that play in right field, that kind of drove my emotions throughout the whole (game). It was a play that I should have made, and it did have some toll on the team.”

The Cubs are hoping to rebound this month after they hit .217 and averaged 3.5 runs per game while going 10-18 in May. A resurgent Suzuki could go a long way to helping the issues with the team's lineup.

The 29-year-old Suzuki hit .285 with 20 homers and 74 RBIs last year in his second season in the majors. He got off to a solid start this year, batting .305 with three homers and 13 RBIs in his first 15 games, but he strained his right oblique during a 3-2 win at Seattle on April 14.

Suzuki hasn't been the same since he returned May 11, batting .219 (16 for 73) in his last 18 games going into Saturday night.

“He has the ability to change the game at any point,” Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “He's so talented and so gifted. You know a lot of people could kind of hang their heads after something like that would happen, but he obviously came right back and responded in the way that we all know that he's capable of.”