The Chicago Cubs had a chance to gain ground on the Washington Nationals and inch ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League wild card hunt, but they could only muster four hits in an extra-innings loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
The Cubs notched only one hit against Reds starter Tyler Mahle, and were limited to one run in four innings against the Cincinnati bullpen.
James Norwood issued two walks and gave up a hit in the 10th inning, and Jose Iglesias hit an RBI double that gave the Reds a third run and ultimately the victory in the season finale between the two clubs.
The loss means the Cubs remain a game and a half behind the Nationals in the race for the top wild card spot in the National League and remain in a tie with the Brewers for the second wild card spot.
A St. Louis Cardinals win on Wednesday also means that the Cubs trail their arch rivals by three games in the Central Division race heading into a critical four-game series this weekend.
The Cubs fell behind in the fourth inning of the game, as Eugenio Suárez hit a home run to center field off of Cubs starter Jon Lester, giving the Reds a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the frame the Cubs struck back, as Kyle Schwarber lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Nicholas Castellanos and knot things up at 1-1.
That score stayed in place until the seventh inning when the Reds took the lead back on a sacrifice fly of their own, but once again the Cubs answered quickly as Willson Contreras hit a home run into the left field bleachers to tie the game at 2-2.
After the Cubs got two quick outs to start the 10th, the Reds put together a rally thanks to some erratic pitching by Norwood. He allowed a single and then a walk to put runners on first and second, and when Iglesias doubled to deep right, Aristides Aquino scored the go-ahead run, giving the Reds a lead they would never relinquish.
Now the Cubs are left to lick their wounds as they prepare for a critical series against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. First pitch for the series opener is set for 7:05 p.m.