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Cincinnati at Chicago

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Cincinnati «000002100380
Chi. Cubs000000020262

Reds 3, Cubs 2

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- From the start, Eric Milton didn't feel right. He was tired, his velocity wasn't there.

Still, he took a shutout into the eighth inning, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Wednesday night to avoid a three-game sweep.

Ken Griffey Jr. had two hits, including a home run off Carlos Zambrano (3-3) leading off the sixth, and drove in two runs as the Reds won for the second time in seven games. Ryan Freel had two hits and scored a run for Cincinnati.

Milton (3-2) allowed a single to Juan Pierre leading off the first then retired the next 17 batters before Pierre singled up the middle with two outs in the sixth.

"I would say they were getting themselves out a lot tonight," Milton said.

He had the Cubs were swinging early in the count, and the result was he threw just 92 pitches in 7 2/3 innings.

He ran into trouble in the eighth when Matt Murton led off with a double to the wall in center field, and Jacque Jones then lined a two-run homer to center to pull the Cubs within 3-2. It was Jones' ninth homer and his second in as many games.

After Ronny Cedeno singled to shortstop, pinch-hitter Freddie Bynum bunted into a forceout. Milton left after allowing a single to shortstop by Neifi Perez that put runners on first and second with two outs. Todd Coffey relieved and struck out Michael Barrett to end the inning. He pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.

In his third start since returning from arthroscopic knee surgery, Milton allowed two runs and six hits, winning for the first time since beating the Cubs on April 13.

"He threw a lot of first pitch strikes," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "He threw a lot of breaking balls and changeups for strikes. I thought he did a great job of mixing up his pitches."

Zambrano -- 0-1 with a 7.59 ERA in his previous four starts against Cincinnati -- left after allowing two runs in the sixth inning when he appeared to lose his composure.

First, Griffey pulled a 1-2 pitch out to right for the game's first run.

Zambrano appeared upset after Scott Hatteberg chopped a single off first baseman Todd Walker's glove, putting runners on first and third with one out. After a visit to the mound by Barrett and pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Zambrano hit Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases. Then he had trouble picking up Jason LaRue's grounder, allowing Austin Kearns to score from third, before throwing to first for the second out.

After striking out Milton, Zambrano smacked a cooler in the dugout. And he was still steamed afterward "with myself."

"I've been in baseball five years, and I've never felt like I felt right now," Zambrano said.

But he wouldn't pinpoint the cause of his anger.

"I don't know what to say right now; I don't want to say anything bad," he said.

Zambrano answered several questions with "myself," sprinkling in responses like: "I've got to do better. I'm better than this, you know? That's why I'm upset."

Did he try to talk manager Dusty Baker into keeping him in the game?

"It's the manager's decision when he takes me out," Zambrano said.

For the Cubs it was a rough end to a month in which they went 7-22. Their offense sputtered, a problem the Cubs hope they rectified with Wednesday's acquisition of Phil Nevin from Texas for Jerry Hairston Jr.

One of the few bright spots in May was Zambrano, who was 3-1 and allowed nine runs in six starts. In the two no-decisions, he shut out San Diego for seven innings on May 5 and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Atlanta on Friday.

The Cubs started May with a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh, then dropped eight straight and 12 of 13.

"I think we turned the page a week ago," Jones said. "It was like a snowball effect; everything that could go wrong went wrong. We battled. We stuck together. There's no dissension. Everybody in here is still upbeat. We have a long way to go."

Notes

Cubs 1B Derrek Lee took an important step in his recovery from two fractured bones just above his wrist joint when the cast on his right arm was removed Wednesday. Trainer Mark O'Neal said Lee will not resume baseball activities until he has regained full range of motion, which will take 10 days to two weeks. Lee was injured in a collision at first base with Los Angeles' Rafael Furcal on April 19. ... RHP Greg Maddux apparently was fine after experiencing stiffness in his back and legs following a 61-minute rain delay on Tuesday. Maddux pitched 5 2/3 innings and got the win in an 8-3 victory over the Reds. ... The Reds optioned LHP Brian Shackelford to Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday to make room for newly acquired RHP Esteban Yan. The Reds acquired the 30-year-old Yan -- who had a 6.85 ERA in 13 games -- and an undisclosed amount of cash from the Los Angeles Angels for minor league pitcher Kyle Edens on Tuesday.

 
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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Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Jones
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Cincinnati

K. Griffey
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, 2B-LF5120011 .257
Felipe Lopez, SS5000032 .284
Ken Griffey Jr., CF5122010 .255
Adam Dunn, LF4010111 .236
    Brandon Phillips, 2B0000000 .309
Austin Kearns, RF3100214 .282
Scott Hatteberg, 1B3010105 .284
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B3010000 .263
Jason LaRue, C4001012 .184
Eric Milton, P4010012 .231
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
Totals363834917 
Batting
2B - Adam Dunn (10, Ohman)
3B - Ryan Freel (1, Eyre)
HR - Ken Griffey Jr. (7, Zambrano)
RBI - Ken Griffey Jr. 2 (28), Jason LaRue (10)
Team LOB - 11
Cincinnati Reds
Eric Milton (W,3-2) 7.2622011 4.89
Todd Coffey (S,2) 1.1000010 1.20
Pitches-Strikes - Eric Milton 92-64, Todd Coffey 12-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eric Milton 8-14, Todd Coffey 3-0
Batters Faced - Eric Milton 29, Todd Coffey 4
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4020001 .240
Neifi Perez, 2B4010002 .206
Michael Barrett, C4000013 .277
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4000001 .239
Todd Walker, 1B4000000 .310
Matt Murton, LF4110000 .286
Jacque Jones, RF3112000 .280
Ronny Cedeno, SS3010000 .290
Carlos Zambrano, P1000000 .045
   a- Tony Womack, PH1000010 .343
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .000
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
   b- Freddie Bynum, PH1000001 .213
    Will Ohman, P00000001.000
    David Aardsma, P0000000 .000
Totals33262028 
a-struck out for Zambrano in the 6th
b-hit into fielder's choice-bunting for Howry in the 8th
Batting
2B - Matt Murton (7, Milton)
HR - Jacque Jones (9, Milton)
RBI - Jacque Jones 2 (28)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Ronny Cedeno 2 (11, Misplayed grounder, Freel advanced on wild throw)
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Zambrano (L,3-3) 6422361 3.42
Scott Eyre 0.2211020 2.00
Roberto Novoa 0.1000100 5.09
Bob Howry 1100010 2.10
Will Ohman 0.2100000 5.16
David Aardsma 0.1000000 8.22
HBP - Encarnacion (by Carlos Zambrano)
WP - Roberto Novoa (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 101-57, Scott Eyre 18-12, Roberto Novoa 12-6, Bob Howry 16-11, Will Ohman 6-5, David Aardsma 6-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 10-3, Roberto Novoa 1-0, Will Ohman 1-1, David Aardsma 1-0
Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 27, Scott Eyre 4, Roberto Novoa 2, Bob Howry 4, Will Ohman 3, David Aardsma 1
Game Information
Attendance - 39810
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Paul Schrieber, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Jim Joyce