CHICAGO (AP) - David Ross and the Cincinnati Reds felt right at
home with the wind blowing out of Wrigley Field on Thursday.
The Chicago Cubs' friendly confines was even nicer to a visiting
team, for once.
Ross hit two of Cincinnati's seven homers, a long-ball barrage
that included Ken Griffey Jr.'s 605th, and the Reds avoided a sweep
with a 12-7 victory.
It was only Chicago's 11th home loss this season.
"It was a hot and humid day and I've seen that ball travel here
on these kind of days big time. Anything that was up in the air,
you were always nervous," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who
skippered the Cubs for four years and knows all about wild games at
the neighborhood park.
"That was big for the offense to break out like that and keep
scoring. In this ballpark you're never comfortable. I don't care
what the lead is, especially with the offense that they have over
Edwin Encarnacion, Brandon Phillips, Adam Dunn and Joey Votto
also homered with the wind blowing out at 12 mph on a muggy day.
The Reds tied their season high for homers - they also had seven
against the Cubs at their longball-friendly yard, Great American
Ball Park, on May 7.
Backup catcher Ross had one homer all season before hitting solo
shots in the fifth off Jon Lieber and seventh off newly acquired
"I had a chance to play today and made the most of it," Ross
said. "I think everybody wants to hit when the wind is blowing out
Griffey hit a three-run drive off reliever Michael Wuertz as
Cincinnati scored four times in the fourth to take an 8-3 lead. He
also had a run-scoring double and finished with four RBIs
"We were just trying to get base hits. Sometimes you get the
ball in the air and it can go out," Griffey said. "The wind was
Griffey's 12th homer of the season got him within four of tying
Sammy Sosa for fifth on the career list with 609.
The Reds chased Ted Lilly (9-6) after 2 2-3 innings, his
shortest outing of the season. The left-hander gave up six hits and
four runs before he was removed by manager Lou Piniella.
"An ugly inning," Lilly said of the third. "I understand why
Lou wanted to go in a different direction."
Mike Fontenot homered for Chicago, which dropped to 35-11 at
All-Star outfielder Kosuke Fukudome fouled a ball off his leg in
the eighth and was replaced in the field in the ninth. Fukudome
said he was OK but playing every day could be wearing on the Cubs'
He struck out three times and went 0-for-5 as his average
dropped to .282.
"It looks to me like he's swinging awfully tired," Piniella
Chicago cut it to 8-5 on Fontenot's two-run drive in the fourth
but Ross went deep in the fifth and Dunn's long drive to right in
the sixth cleared the stadium and landed on the other side of
Piniella said he lost track of how many homers the Reds hit. "I
know the one Dunn hit counted for two," he cracked.
Derrek Lee had an RBI double in the first and Ryan Theriot
delivered a two-out, two-run single in the second to help the Cubs
build a 3-1 lead.
Notes: Cincinnati finished with 18 hits. ... It was Ross' eighth
career multihomer game. ... RHP Rich Harden, acquired by the Cubs
on Tuesday from Oakland, threw a light bullpen session on Thursday.
Harden could be on a pitch limit of about 100 when he makes his
Cubs' debut on Saturday against the Giants. ... Baker said the team
likely will recall RHP Homer Bailey from Triple-A Louisville to
start on Sunday in place of Aaron Harang, who had an MRI on
Thursday that came back normal. It showed he has a strained right
forearm. ... INF Jolbert Cabrera (dislocated left index finger),
currently on a minor league rehab assignment, is expected to return
to the Reds shortly after the All-Star break. ... In the bottom of
the second, Lilly's line drive foul ball struck a youngster sitting
in the seats about 20 rows behind the Cubs' dugout on the third
base side. The youngster was carried out of the stands. A first aid
employee said the youngster was taken to the hospital and appeared
to be OK. Lilly said he was unaware the kid had been struck.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)