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Reds rally with five-run eighth to split series with Cubs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Once an overheated Greg Maddux started seeing little white dots, his chance to reach the 3,000-strikeout mark was gone.

That wasn't the end of his woozy afternoon. A bullpen meltdown a few innings later cost Maddux that elusive first win at Great American Ball Park as well.

Roberto Novoa (2-3) balked home the tying run in the eighth, and Austin Kearns followed with a two-run single Thursday afternoon, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Javier Valentin homered twice and Rich Aurilia had a solo shot, helping the Reds gain a split of their four-game series.

Maddux lasted only five innings on a steamy afternoon, turning a 5-3 lead over to the bullpen. He has yet to win in four starts at Great American Ball Park, where he has an 8.14 ERA.

He ran the bases twice -- on an RBI single and while vainly trying to beat out his double-play grounder. By the end of the fifth, he was spent.

"I don't know what did it," Maddux said. "I just didn't feel right. I started seeing those little white things. It kind of spooked me a little bit."

Maddux struck out four, leaving him two shy of becoming the 13th pitcher to reach the 3,000 mark. He will try again next week at Wrigley Field.

Novoa pitched out of a bases-loaded, none-out threat in the seventh to preserve a 5-4 lead, with center fielder Jerry Hairston making a diving catch on Aurilia's sinking liner to end the inning.

The Reds rallied in the eighth on a hit, a walk and Novoa's balk, then loaded the bases again with two outs. Kearns, who spent the last six weeks with Triple-A Louisville losing weight and fine-tuning his swing, singled off Ryan Dempster for the go-ahead runs.

Kearns returned to Cincinnati on Wednesday night, too late to get into the game. He batted cleanup Thursday and went 3-for-5 with the most important hit.

"I'm not out for personal issues or to prove people wrong," said Kearns, who wasn't happy with the demotion. "In the past I've tried to do that, and it made it that much harder; I tried to do too much. I learned to relax in Louisville and was reminded that it's a game. It's nice to get off to a good start."

Aurilia completed the eighth-inning rally with another two-run single off Dempster, the fifth Cubs pitcher. Brian Shackelford (1-0) pitched the eighth for his first major league win.

Running the bases on a humid, 85-degree afternoon sapped Maddux, who went eight innings in each of his last two starts. He gave up Aurilia's solo homer and Valentin's two-run shot.

"You've got to try to keep it in the park here, and I didn't do it very well," Maddux said. "But at least I left some guys on base."

Todd Walker's three-run homer off left-hander Eric Milton put the Cubs up 5-1 in the fourth, but they couldn't hold on against the majors' best comeback team. It was the 14th time the Reds have won by overcoming a deficit of at least three runs, best in the majors.

The NL's top power teams spent the series taking advantage of the majors' most homer-friendly park. More have been hit at Great American than anyplace else.

Aramis Ramirez hit his 25th homer in the ninth for Chicago, which hit 11 in the series to Cincinnati's seven. The Reds have 128 overall this season, two more than the Cubs.

Chicago's problem all series long was stranding runners. The Cubs left nine on base Thursday, four of them in scoring position.

"It is frustrating," manager Dusty Baker said. "They took that game from us. We were hoping that Greg could have gone longer, but he was out of gas after running the bases a couple of times. We had to go to the bullpen a little bit earlier than we wanted to, so our bullpen was really spent today."

The focus was on Maddux, who got his first big league win in Cincinnati in 1986 against the team he rooted for as a boy. He got a quick start toward the strikeout mark, fanning leadoff batter Ryan Freel on three pitches. He got two more strikeouts in the second, leaving him halfway there.

After that, the four-time Cy Young winner had a more important thing on his mind -- keeping cool. Once the dots appeared, he was done.

Notes

  • Maddux is 19-15 against the Reds.
  • C Michael Barrett extended his hitting streak to eight games.
  • The Reds sent reliever Ben Weber to Class-A Dayton to start a medical rehabilitation assignment. The right-hander has been on the DL since May 9 with a bulging disc in his neck.
  • Milton has given up 30 homers, most in the majors.
  • Ramirez's ninth homer at Great American tied him with four others for most by an opponent there. He had four homers in the four-game series.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Javier Valentin enjoys his first of two homers on the day as the Reds rally to beat the Cubs.  (AP)
Javier Valentin enjoys his first of two homers on the day as the Reds rally to beat the Cubs. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

T. Walker
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Cincinnati

J. Valentin
AB 3
R 3
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
 
Chicago Cubs
Jerry Hairston Jr., CF5010002 .264
Todd Walker, 2B5123001 .308
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .077
Derrek Lee, 1B5010012 .372
Aramis Ramirez, 3B5121002 .310
Michael Barrett, C5020002 .276
Jeromy Burnitz, RF5130000 .285
Ronny Cedeno, SS4111003 .244
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .000
    Jose Macias, 2B0000000 .284
Matthew Murton, LF2110212 .421
Greg Maddux, P3111012 .238
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
    Neifi Perez, SS1000000 .270
Totals4061462316 
Batting
2B - Michael Barrett (17, Milton), Jeromy Burnitz (22, Milton), Ronny Cedeno (2, Milton)
HR - Todd Walker (7, Milton), Aramis Ramirez (25, Belisle)
RBI - Todd Walker 3 (25), Aramis Ramirez (70), Ronny Cedeno (3), Greg Maddux (3)
2-OUT RBI - Todd Walker 3 (13)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Maddux-Cedeno-Lee
E - Michael Barrett (4, Wild throw), Derrek Lee (5, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
Greg Maddux 5933042 4.55
Michael Wuertz (H,9) 1211031 4.35
Will Ohman0000100 2.45
Roberto Novoa (BS,3; L,2-3) 1.1133210 4.66
Ryan Dempster 0.2222210 4.13
IBB - Griffey by Ryan Dempster, by Dunn
Pitches-Strikes - Greg Maddux 71-51, Michael Wuertz 17-11, Will Ohman 13-6, Roberto Novoa 27-14, Ryan Dempster 29-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Greg Maddux 6-4, Will Ohman 1-0, Roberto Novoa 2-1, Ryan Dempster 1-0
Batters Faced - Greg Maddux 23, Michael Wuertz 5, Will Ohman 2, Roberto Novoa 7, Ryan Dempster 6
Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, 3B4020010 .291
   a- Sean Casey, PH-1B0100100 .308
Felipe Lopez, SS5010003 .304
Ken Griffey Jr., CF3110201 .290
Austin Kearns, RF5132004 .234
Adam Dunn, 1B-LF4000127 .240
Rich Aurilia, 2B-3B5133013 .258
Wily Mo Pena, LF5210033 .263
    Matt Belisle, P0000000 .143
Javier Valentin, C3323110 .277
Eric Milton, P2010000 .171
    Jason Standridge, P0000000 .000
   b- Jacob Cruz, PH1000010 .227
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
    Brian Shackelford, P0000000 .000
   c- Ray Olmedo, PH-2B0000000 .529
Totals3791485921 
a-walked for Freel in the 8th
b-struck out for Standridge in the 6th
c-hit a sacrifice bunt for Shackelford in the 8th
Batting
2B - Austin Kearns (12, Maddux)
HR - Rich Aurilia (10, Maddux), Javier Valentin 2 (9, Maddux, Wuertz)
SH - Ray Olmedo (1)
RBI - Austin Kearns 2 (27), Rich Aurilia 3 (40), Javier Valentin 3 (26)
2-OUT RBI - Austin Kearns 2 (12), Rich Aurilia 2 (17), Javier Valentin (11)
SB - Ryan Freel (22, 3rd base off Ohman/Barrett), Wily Mo Pena (2, 2nd base off Maddux/Barrett)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - F. Lopez-Aurilia-Dunn
Cincinnati Reds
Eric Milton 41155111 7.08
Jason Standridge 2000110 4.15
Todd Coffey 1200010 5.40
Brian Shackelford (W,1-0) 1000000 1.00
Matt Belisle 1111001 4.10
IBB - Murton by Jason Standridge
Pitches-Strikes - Eric Milton 83-51, Jason Standridge 22-13, Todd Coffey 12-8, Brian Shackelford 10-5, Matt Belisle 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eric Milton 3-8, Jason Standridge 3-1, Brian Shackelford 2-1, Matt Belisle 2-1
Batters Faced - Eric Milton 24, Jason Standridge 6, Todd Coffey 5, Brian Shackelford 3, Matt Belisle 4
Game Information
Attendance - 36498
Game Time - 3:15
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Jim Wolf, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Randy Marsh