Chicago at Cincinnati

Cubs hammer Reds as President Bush throws out first pitch

CBS wire reports

CINCINNATI -- With another 16-run outburst, the Cubs showed they've mastered the art of the fast start.

Of course, finishing has always been this franchise's problem.

Chicago rolled to its fourth straight opening day victory Monday, 16-7, over a Cincinnati Reds team that could bring the president to town but couldn't stop the Cubs' run of first-game success.

Matt Murton homered in a five-run first inning, and Todd Walker singled home a pair of runs in a seven-run sixth that sent most of the capacity crowd to the exits on a windy, raw afternoon.

"It went better than we could have hoped," said Walker, who was 3-for-4 with three RBI. "The only thing I can think is that we did the same thing last year and dropped the next two to Arizona."

The Cubs set a franchise record for opening day runs in a 16-6 victory over Arizona last year, then wound up finishing in fourth place in the NL Central, right ahead of Cincinnati.

The Reds hadn't given up so many runs on opening day since '77 -- 1877, that is, in a 24-6 loss to Louisville during the third month of Rutherford B. Hayes' presidency.

"In the sixth inning, it didn't seem like anything went our way," manager Jerry Narron said. "It was a nightmare inning for anybody. You don't like to see that happen to anybody, especially your own team."

President George W. Bush threw a ceremonial pitch at the invitation of new Reds owner Bob Castellini, one of his former ownership partners in the Texas Rangers. No current president had ever thrown an opening day pitch in Cincinnati.

With that little bit of history out of the way, the Cubs made a little more.

They scored five runs in the first inning, completed by Murton's three-run homer. The Reds hadn't given up five runs in the first inning of an opener since that loss to Louisville eight years after they became baseball's first professional team.

Then, Chicago sent a dozen batters to the plate to take control in the sixth inning, extending its stretch of impressive first games. The Cubs scored 15 runs in the 2003 opener, tying what was then the club record, and topped it with a 16-6 victory in Arizona last year that set the new standard -- now tied.

It's the first time since 1950-55 that they've won four consecutive openers. They've piled up 54 runs in those four games.

Two of those four wins have come over Cincinnati, mired in its deepest slump since 1955 -- five straight losing seasons -- and looked like more of the same under new ownership. Left fielder Adam Dunn, a fellow Texan who chatted with Bush in the clubhouse before the game, provided a signature moment when he turned the wrong way and then fell on the warning track while chasing Derrek Lee's RBI double in the sixth.

Dunn got cheered sarcastically every time he caught a fly ball for the rest of the game.

"If you want to say we're going to go out and stink up the season, go ahead, but it's not going to ruin my season," said Dunn, who also dropped a fly ball for an error. "If you want me to say we're going to go 0-162, I'm not going to do that. I'm not writing off my season because of opening day."

By contrast, the Cubs looked right at home on a raw afternoon with the wind blowing out -- much like Wrigley Field in April.

Murton got it going with his eighth major league homer, hit off loser Aaron Harang. He also slammed into the scoreboard in the left-field wall to catch Austin Kearns' fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning.

"The wind out there was a tough thing," said Murton, 24, a key part of the Cubs' youngest opening day lineup since 1977. "You had to give it your best effort and keep your feet moving."

For the second year in a row, Carlos Zambrano failed to make it through the fifth inning of an opening day start. Scott Hatteberg hit a three-run homer, and Dunn tied it with a leadoff shot in the fifth.

Twelve batters later, the Cubs regained control and ended the suspense. Will Ohman got the win in relief of Zambrano.

Before the game, Bush visited the Reds' clubhouse and shook hands with each player in front of his locker. He received a black bat from Ken Griffey Jr., who patted the president on the back of his right shoulder.

Then, he was off to visit the Cubs for another quick go-around. As Bush entered the clubhouse of a team that hasn't won the World Series since 1908, he said, "So, this is the year, right?"

So far.


  • Bush wore a red-and-black Reds warmup jacket for his on-the-fly toss to catcher Jason LaRue, another fellow Texan who squatted behind the plate even though he had knee surgery a week earlier.
  • The Cubs have played the Reds more than any other team in season openers, going 17-15 and winning nine of 12.
  • The Reds are 1-3 in openers at Great American.
Copyright 2017 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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President Bush gets a handshake from Reds catcher Jason LaRue after throwing out the first pitch.  (AP)
President Bush gets a handshake from Reds catcher Jason LaRue after throwing out the first pitch. (AP)

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Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF6331000
Todd Walker, 2B4233010
    Scott Williamson, P0000000
    Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B1110000
Derrek Lee, 1B2212300
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010204
Jacque Jones, RF2101012
    Will Ohman, P0000000
   a- Neifi Perez, PH-2B^SS3112000
Michael Barrett, C5122100
Matt Murton, LF5233102
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000
Ronny Cedeno, SS4110013
    Scott Eyre, P0000000
   b- John Mabry, PH1000001
    Bob Howry, P0000000
    Freddie Bynum, LF0000000
Carlos Zambrano, P2000011
    Angel Pagan, RF3221000
a-singled for Ohman in the 6th
b-grounded out for Eyre in the 8th
2B - Todd Walker 2 (, Harang, Harang), Derrek Lee (, Burns), Michael Barrett 2 (, Harang, White)
3B - Juan Pierre (, Harang)
HR - Matt Murton (, Harang)
SF - Derrek Lee (), Jacque Jones ()
SH - Jerry Hairston Jr. ()
RBI - Juan Pierre (), Todd Walker 3 (), Derrek Lee 2 (), Jacque Jones (), Neifi Perez 2 (), Michael Barrett 2 (), Matt Murton 3 (), Angel Pagan ()
2-OUT RBI - Michael Barrett 2 (), Matt Murton 3 ()
Team LOB - 9
DP - Lee-Ramirez
PB - Michael Barrett ()
E - Derrek Lee (, Missed catch)
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Zambrano 4.2755552
Will Ohman (W,-) 0.1000000
Scott Williamson0111200
Scott Eyre 2110230
Bob Howry 1100010
Ryan Dempster 1100110
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 105-58, Will Ohman 4-2, Scott Williamson 18-7, Scott Eyre 37-21, Bob Howry 12-7, Ryan Dempster 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 5-3, Scott Eyre 1-2, Bob Howry 2-0, Ryan Dempster 2-0
Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 25, Will Ohman 1, Scott Williamson 3, Scott Eyre 9, Bob Howry 4, Ryan Dempster 5
Cincinnati Reds
Tony Womack, 2B2110200
   a- Rich Aurilia, PH-2B1011000
Felipe Lopez, SS4010215
Ken Griffey Jr., CF3011101
Adam Dunn, LF4222013
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4100135
Scott Hatteberg, 1B3113211
Austin Kearns, RF5120013
Javier Valentin, C5010013
Aaron Harang, P2000021
    Chris Hammond, P0000000
    Mike Burns, P0000000
   b- Chris Denorfia, PH1110000
    Matt Belisle, P0000000
   c- Ryan Freel, PH0000100
    Todd Coffey, P0000000
    Rick White, P0000000
   d- Andy Abad, PH0000100
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Womack in the 7th
b-doubled for Burns in the 6th
c-walked for Belisle in the 7th
d-walked for White in the 9th
2B - Tony Womack (, Zambrano), Austin Kearns (, Zambrano), Chris Denorfia (, Williamson)
HR - Adam Dunn (, Zambrano), Scott Hatteberg (, Zambrano)
SF - Rich Aurilia (), Ken Griffey Jr. (), Adam Dunn ()
RBI - Rich Aurilia (), Ken Griffey Jr. (), Adam Dunn 2 (), Scott Hatteberg 3 ()
Team LOB - 13
DP - Encarnacion-Womack, F. Lopez-Womack-Hatteberg
E - Adam Dunn (, Dropped fly ball), Edwin Encarnacion (, Throwing error)
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang (L,-) 5996331
Chris Hammond0222000
Mike Burns 1211210
Matt Belisle 1100100
Todd Coffey 1100000
Rick White 1341100
IBB - Ramirez by Mike Burns, Ramirez by Rick White
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 100-67, Chris Hammond 8-6, Mike Burns 28-17, Matt Belisle 22-14, Todd Coffey 10-7, Rick White 20-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 5-7, Mike Burns 1-0, Matt Belisle 2-1, Todd Coffey 1-2, Rick White 2-2
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 27, Chris Hammond 2, Mike Burns 6, Matt Belisle 5, Todd Coffey 4, Rick White 8
Game Information
Attendance - 42591
Game Time - 3:33
Temperature - 50
Umpires - Home - Gerry Davis, First Base - Brian Gorman, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Bill Miller