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Cincinnati at Chicago

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Chi. Cubs020001000382

Prior strikes out 11 Reds, but Cubs lose again

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Jason LaRue's move up in the batting order came at a bad time for the reeling Chicago Cubs.

LaRue batted second for the first time this season and came through with a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, then singled home another run in a four-run ninth as the Cincinnati Reds beat Chicago 8-3 Tuesday. It was the seventh consecutive loss for the Cubs.

"They're kind of rolling through a little funk right now and we're playing well," said winning pitcher Aaron Harang. "The team is putting some runs on the board and playing good defense behind the starters."

Corey Patterson returned after a monthlong stint at Triple-A, Nomar Garciaparra hit his first home run and Mark Prior struck out a season-high 11. But it didn't amount to a victory.

"We need to win ballgames, that's pretty obvious," Prior said. "We haven't done that in a week. We need to win 'A' ballgame."

LaRue's drive over the left-field bleachers came off Will Ohman (2-2), who had just entered. It was the catcher's 10th of the season. Ironically, he was moved up to second because of his success against Prior.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker brought in the left-handed Ohman for Prior -- who had thrown 117 pitches in seven innings -- because the Reds had three left-handed hitters due up after LaRue, batting only .231 against lefties.

"He hit a pretty good pitch," Baker said. "We couldn't close them out at the end."

LaRue added the RBI single in the ninth off Ryan Dempster after a two-run double by Jacob Cruz. Adam Dunn singled home the fourth run of the inning.

Prior gave up solo homers to Ken Griffey Jr. and Edwin Encarnacion. He allowed eight hits and three runs and didn't walk a batter.

"We're not playing good, that's the bottom line," Prior said. "I'm not going to sit here and analyze what people are doing or not doing. We're not playing good and we're not winning ballgames."

Harang (8-10) yielded eight hits, striking out three and walking none in seven innings.

"I couldn't say enough good things about him," LaRue said. "He mixed his pitches up well and the main thing, he kept the ball down in the zone."

The Cubs, 6½ games behind Houston in the NL wild-card race, are hitting .233 and have scored just 20 runs during their most recent slide. Chicago's pitching staff has a 5.83 ERA in that time.

"We don't need to convince (media and fans) we're still in it," Baker said. "We have to convince ourselves before we can convince anybody. We've got a big game tomorrow and the St. Louis Cardinals coming, so we certainly need to win this game tomorrow."

Matt Lawton's two-run double with two outs in the second gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. With one out, Patterson reached on a bunt single and Henry Blanco followed with a single. Prior's sacrifice set up Lawton's hit.

Sean Casey doubled in the second and later scored on an error for Cincinnati.

Griffey led off the sixth with his 25th home run to tie the game at 2-2. Garciaparra's homer in the bottom half of the inning gave the Cubs the lead again.

"In my first two at-bats, I thought I hit the ball hard," said Garciaparra, who also grounded out twice and struck out once. "Every day, every time you step up to the plate, you want to hit the ball hard and try and build on it."

But Encarnacion's leadoff homer, his second of the season, tied it in the seventh before the Reds' outburst in the last two innings.

Notes

  • LaRue came into the game hitting .375 (6-for-16) with three RBI against Prior. He went 1-for-3 against Prior with a double.
  • Garciaparra's wife, soccer star Mia Hamm, was in an attendance.
  • Former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch threw out the first pitch and sang Take Me Out To The Ball Game on the same day it was announced he is leaving his Roush Racing team to move to Roger Penske's team.
  • Patterson went 1-for-4 in his return.
  • The Cubs said Carlos Zambrano, who left the game early Sunday with a stiff back, will make his next start Friday.
 
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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Jason LaRue breaks a 3-3 tie with a solo blast in the eighth inning off of reliever Will Ohman. (AP)
Jason LaRue breaks a 3-3 tie with a solo blast in the eighth inning off of reliever Will Ohman. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

M. Prior
IP 7.0
H 8
ER 3
BB 0
K 11
Cincinnati

J. LaRue
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Cincinnati Reds
Felipe Lopez, SS5000031 .276
Jason LaRue, C5232000 .273
Ken Griffey Jr., CF5121021 .284
Adam Dunn, LF5011022 .257
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
Sean Casey, 1B5120002 .313
Austin Kearns, RF3110111 .238
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4111013 .246
Ray Olmedo, 2B4120021 .355
Aaron Harang, P3000031 .019
    Jason Standridge, P0000000 .000
    Kent Mercker, P0000000 .000
   a- Jacob Cruz, PH1012000 .222
    Ryan Freel, PR-LF0100000 .284
Totals40813711412 
a-doubled for Mercker in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jason LaRue (18, Prior), Sean Casey (27, Prior), Jacob Cruz (8, Dempster)
HR - Jason LaRue (10, Ohman), Ken Griffey Jr. (25, Prior), Edwin Encarnacion (2, Prior)
RBI - Jason LaRue 2 (41), Ken Griffey Jr. (76), Adam Dunn (81), Edwin Encarnacion (5), Jacob Cruz 2 (16)
2-OUT RBI - Jason LaRue (19), Adam Dunn (26)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Austin Kearns (2, misplayed grounder)
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang (W,8-10) 7833031 3.90
Jason Standridge (H,1) 0.2000000 2.08
Kent Mercker (H,14) 0.1000010 2.68
David Weathers 1000020 3.81
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 105-75, Jason Standridge 5-3, Kent Mercker 5-3, David Weathers 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 5-13
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 29, Jason Standridge 2, Kent Mercker 1, David Weathers 3
Chicago Cubs
Matt Lawton, LF4022011 .270
Todd Walker, 2B4010001 .297
Derrek Lee, 1B4010002 .348
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4000003 .301
Jeromy Burnitz, RF4000023 .261
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .077
Nomar Garciaparra, SS4111011 .182
Corey Patterson, CF4110010 .233
Henry Blanco, C3110000 .240
   a- Michael Barrett, PH1000010 .275
Mark Prior, P1010000 .226
   b- Jose Macias, PH1000000 .294
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Scott Williamson, P0000000 .000
    Todd Hollandsworth, RF0000000 .250
Totals343830611 
a-struck out for Blanco in the 9th
b-grounded out for Prior in the 7th
Batting
2B - Matt Lawton (30, Harang), Derrek Lee (34, Harang)
HR - Nomar Garciaparra (1, Harang)
SH - Mark Prior (5)
RBI - Matt Lawton 2 (47), Nomar Garciaparra (5)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Lawton 2 (23)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Ramirez-Walker-Lee
E - Jeromy Burnitz (5, misplayed grounder), Nomar Garciaparra (3, misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
Mark Prior 78330112 3.65
Will Ohman (L,2-2) 1111021 2.83
Scott Williamson 0.1122100 7.71
Ryan Dempster 0.2321010 4.06
WP - Ryan Dempster (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Prior 117-76, Will Ohman 18-13, Scott Williamson 12-5, Ryan Dempster 19-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Prior 5-4, Will Ohman 1-0, Ryan Dempster 2-0
Batters Faced - Mark Prior 28, Will Ohman 4, Scott Williamson 3, Ryan Dempster 6
Game Information
Attendance - 38368
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 90
Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Rick Reed, Second Base - Terry Craft, Third Base - Ted Barrett