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Barrett's seventh-inning slam punches Cubs past Reds

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

CINCINNATI -- All Michael Barrett wanted was a routine hit to break a scoreless tie. With one graceful swing, he got a whole lot more.

Barrett's grand slam in the seventh inning sent Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs to a 4-2 victory Saturday over the Cincinnati Reds, who had trouble getting Chicago's catcher out for the second consecutive night.

Henry Blanco drove in three runs during a 6-5 victory Friday that snapped the Reds' eight-game winning streak. Barrett's two-out slam off Esteban Yan put the Cubs in line for their second straight win.

"What can I say?" Barrett said. "Those things happen when you least expect them."

Zambrano (5-3) did what the Cubs have come to expect, shutting down one of the NL's most prolific offenses. The right-hander gave up four hits in 7 2/3 innings, including Ken Griffey Jr.'s solo homer, pitching just a little bit better than left-hander Brandon Claussen.

Claussen (3-7) left a scoreless game with the bases loaded in the seventh, then watched from the dugout as everything turned on one pitch. Yan, obtained from the Angels on May 30, came in to face Barrett, who hit his second pitch off the facing of the upper deck in left field.

"He's a veteran guy," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "We know we've got to have a guy come in in the sixth and seventh innings and get outs. We can't use David Weathers and Todd Coffey every night."

It was Barrett's eighth homer of the season and his third career slam. He also hit one off Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen on April 10.

"That was a huge hit from Michael," manager Dusty Baker said. "It was major decision time in the game for everybody."

Griffey led off the Reds' eighth with his 547th homer, leaving him one behind Mike Schmidt for 11th on the career list. Griffey also had a double off Zambrano in his first at-bat.

Cubs closer Ryan Dempster, who threw 35 pitches during a wild ninth-inning save on Friday night, had a few more tense moments. He gave up an RBI single to Brandon Phillips before retiring Griffey and Rich Aurilia to end it, getting his 11th save in 14 chances.

Zambrano has rebounded from his poor April -- 0-2 in six starts -- by going on his best streak of the season. He's 5-1 in his last eight starts, and has been particularly hard to hit the last two times out.

The right-hander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning Monday before Preston Wilson singled with one out -- Houston's only hit off Zambrano in the Cubs' 8-0 victory. The Reds didn't have much more success, managing only two hits through the first seven innings.

"I'm pitching right now," said Zambrano, who threw a season-high 126 pitches. "At the beginning of the season, I was throwing the ball. That's the big difference."

Claussen wasn't surprised to be pitching in a close game. More often than not, the Reds' offense has a tough time when he's on the mound. In seven of his 13 starts, Cincinnati has scored two runs or less, leaving him no margin for error.

"I felt like I kept us in the game," Claussen said. "Unfortunately, you've got to catch the breaks sometimes. I didn't catch a break tonight."

The left-hander gave up five hits and threw 114 pitches before he was replaced by Yan. In seven career starts against the Cubs, Claussen is 1-6 with a 6.75 ERA.

Griffey helped keep it scoreless until the seventh with the game's best defensive play, slamming into the wall to catch Barrett's fly to center in the fourth inning. Griffey hit his back hard on the padded wall, but held onto the ball and stayed in the game.

Right fielder Austin Kearns was back in the Reds' lineup, a day after a cramp in his hamstring forced him out of the game. Kearns went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Notes

  • RHP Carlos Marmol will make his first major league start Sunday against the Reds, filling in for injured RHP Kerry Wood.
  • Cubs CF Juan Pierre snapped an 0-for-16 slump with a third-inning double.
  • Narron was back after missing one game to attend his daughter's graduation.
  • C David Ross was 0-for-4, ending his 12-game hitting streak.
  • The Reds commemorated the 62nd anniversary of Joe Nuxhall's historic big league debut. Nuxhall was only 15 years old -- the youngest player in modern major league history -- when he pitched in relief for the Reds. Nuxhall, who was recently treated for pneumonia, rode around the field on a cart before the game.
 
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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Michael Barrett launches the third grand slam of his career, leading Chicago past Cincy.  (AP)
Michael Barrett launches the third grand slam of his career, leading Chicago past Cincy. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

K. Griffey
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Chicago

M. Barrett
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
 
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF5120011
Todd Walker, 2B4100112
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000
Michael Barrett, C3114200
Phil Nevin, 1B5020011
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3020111
Matt Murton, LF4010105
Jacque Jones, RF5000029
Neifi Perez, SS4110020
Carlos Zambrano, P2000120
    Bob Howry, P0000000
    Tony Womack, 2B0000000
Totals3549461019 
Batting
2B - Juan Pierre (, Claussen), Aramis Ramirez (, Claussen)
HR - Michael Barrett (, Yan)
SH - Carlos Zambrano ()
RBI - Michael Barrett 4 ()
2-OUT RBI - Michael Barrett 4 ()
Team LOB - 12
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Zambrano (W,-) 7.2411641
Bob Howry (H,) 0.1000110
Ryan Dempster (S,) 1211000
WP - Bob Howry ()
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 126-69, Bob Howry 11-6, Ryan Dempster 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 9-10
Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 33, Bob Howry 2, Ryan Dempster 5
Cincinnati Reds
Felipe Lopez, SS3110200
Brandon Phillips, 2B5011013
Ken Griffey Jr., CF4121101
Rich Aurilia, 3B5000003
Adam Dunn, LF2000200
Scott Hatteberg, 1B3010102
Austin Kearns, RF3000113
David Ross, C4000023
Brandon Claussen, P2000010
    Esteban Yan, P0000000
   a- Quinton McCracken, PH1010000
    Joe Mays, P0000000
    David Weathers, P0000000
   b- Ray Olmedo, PH1000000
Totals332627515 
a-tripled for Yan in the 7th
b-flied out for Weathers in the 9th
Batting
2B - Felipe Lopez (, Dempster), Ken Griffey Jr. (, Zambrano)
3B - Quinton McCracken (, Zambrano)
HR - Ken Griffey Jr. (, Zambrano)
RBI - Brandon Phillips (), Ken Griffey Jr. ()
Team LOB - 11
Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Claussen (L,-) 6.2533370
Esteban Yan 0.1311111
Joe Mays 1000010
David Weathers 1100210
HBP - Ramirez (by Brandon Claussen)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Claussen 115-78, Esteban Yan 18-10, Joe Mays 10-6, David Weathers 24-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Claussen 5-8, Joe Mays 1-1, David Weathers 2-0
Batters Faced - Brandon Claussen 29, Esteban Yan 5, Joe Mays 3, David Weathers 6
Game Information
Attendance - 34141
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Randy Marsh, First Base - Angel Hernandez, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Sam Holbrook