Pinch hitter Julio Borbon’s two-out, bases-loaded single was the game winner. Borbon singled to left field off Cincy setup man Jonathan Broxton to end the 5-hour, 7-minute marathon ... and a 12-game losing streak to Cincinnati at Wrigley Field.
“I have been involved in some long games, but maybe not as long as this one,” Borbon said. “It was my first walk-off, so it definitely was worth the wait.”
The Cubs had suffered through a homestand in which they had scored just 11 runs in six games before Thursday’s 6-5 finale.
The Cubs bullpen shut out the league’s second-highest scoring team for eight innings after Jeff Samardzija left the game following the sixth inning.
“I have said it before: We have a lot of confidence in those guys,” Samardzija said. “They definitely get the nod as MVP of the game today.”
Cubs pitchers struck out 19 Reds hitters, with the bullpen fanning 13 in eight innings of work.
“They were better than efficient,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “They were quick and efficient; everybody did a great job today.”
The other good news for the Cubs was the offensive resurgence of shortstop Starlin Castro. The 23-year-old infielder had struggled through the worst slump of his career and entered Thursday’s game hitting a personal low of .238.
Castro had three hits Thursday and scored the game-winning run in the 14th.
“That was by far the best day he has had all year,” Sveum said. “He should have had a walk-off home run [on his ninth-inning double off the wall]. He crushed that ball.
“He swung the bat really well. There were a lot of good things today.”
Sveum had moved Castro back up to the 2 hole on Thursday after demoting him to the sixth and seventh slots for most of the homestand.
“You could see it coming lately,” Samardzija said of Castro’s productive day. “He had been just missing the ball. Today it came full circle for him.”