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Dunn homers as Reds beat Cubs

Monday, May 5, 2008


AP Sports Writer

CINCINNATI -- Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer deep into the seats in right field, and rookie Johnny Cueto got back to hitting the corners with his 95 mph fastball Monday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a slump-busting 5-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

The Reds ended a five-game losing streak by taking advantage of a pair of errors that set up five unearned runs off Ryan Dempster (4-1), who lost for the first time since switching from closer to starter.

The 22-year-old Cueto (2-3) left his pitches over the middle of the plate in his last two starts, when he gave up seven runs in only 8 2-3 innings. Mario Soto, a former Reds pitcher who worked with Cueto in the minors, joined the team and helped him repair his change-up and his confidence.

It showed right away.

Cueto struck out five in the first two innings around a solo homer by Geovany Soto. The right-hander gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, striking out eight.

The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the ninth off Francisco Cordero, but Mike Fontenot was out at the plate when he tried to score from third on a pitched that bounced away from catcher Paul Bako. Cordero walked Ryan Theriot to load the bases again, then retired Derrek Lee on a grounder, leaving him perfect in five save chances.

Felix Pie stretched above the yellow padding atop the wall in center and stole a homer from Ken Griffey Jr. in the fifth inning. The 20,289 fans had risen in anticipation of Griffey's 598th career homer, then let out a collective groan when Pie made the play of the game.

Reds manager Dusty Baker planned to give Griffey off after one of the outfielder's childhood friends died of cancer earlier in the day. Griffey talked Baker into letting him play, and went 1-for-4 with an infield single.

Griffey also slammed into the right-field fence in front of the Cubs' bullpen to steal an extra-base hit from Alfonso Soriano in the third inning, drawing an ovation when he got up from the ground.

Chicago's defense wasn't so sharp, costing the Cubs in a ballpark where they have fond memories of their last visit. The Cubs clinched the NL Central title at Great American Ball Park with a 6-0 victory on Sept. 28, with Dempster getting the last three outs.

Fontenot's fielding error -- the second baseman rushed trying to start a potential inning-ending double play -- set up three unearned runs in the first. Edwin Encarnacion walked to force in a run, and Jeff Keppinger's broken-bat single scored two more.

Third baseman Mark DeRosa let Encarnacion's grounder get past him with two outs in the third, and Dunn followed with his fifth homer -- a 463-foot drive -- for a 5-1 lead. Chicago ranks in the middle of the NL in fielding.


Chicago's Aramis Ramirez missed his third straight game with a sore left wrist, which was hit by a pitch on Friday. Ramirez tested the wrist on Monday. "He took three or four swings and had to stop," manager Lou Piniella said. ... The Reds activated RH David Weathers off the 15-day DL and optioned LH Bill Bray to Triple-A Louisville.

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