Cubs defeat hinges on Stewart error

CINCINNATI -- Carlos Marmol wasn’t at his best in the ninth inning Thursday, but he wasn’t alone in helping the Cincinnati Reds overcome a three-run ninth-inning deficit.

With runners on first and second base with nobody out, Brandon Phillips hit a bouncing ball at Ian Stewart at third base. With a chance for a double play at minimum, Stewart tried to field the ball at his side and move to the third-base bag all in one motion.

The top-spin bouncer instead hopped over his glove and into left field. Instead of two outs and a runner on base, the Reds had one runner home, two on base and nobody out.

“I thought the best chance for me to field the ball was to try to get an angle on it and charge it,” said Stewart, who did not blame a bad hop. “I was just thinking that was the best way for me to field it. I think if I would have got it my momentum was carrying me toward the line and third was right there.”

Marmol then gave up a single to load the bases before he was removed. Rafael Dolis got Devin Mesoraco to ground into a double play, which brought in the tying run. The Reds won it in the 10th on Scott Rolen’s sacrifice fly off Dolis.

“It’s disappointing,” Stewart said. “We had some opportunities to put the game away. We were right where we wanted to be at the end. It’s a tough loss. We’ve had a couple of those this year. The good thing about this game is that we get to come back tomorrow and hopefully forget about this.”

The Cubs clubhouse was about as quiet it has been all season and that’s for a team that has dealt with its fair share of tough losses. Three outs away from a 4-2 road trip, the Cubs instead went an even 3-3 and had a somber plane flight back to Chicago.

“That doesn’t help going home against two of the better teams in the National League (the Dodgers and Braves),” manager Dale Sveum said. “Hopefully we rebound and see what we made of going into Friday’s game.”