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Hill quiets Reds' bats as Cubs rebound from tough loss

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Rich Hill is carrying a strong finish to last season into a new year and showing the potential to be a consistent winner for the Chicago Cubs.

"Knowing you belong here is a thing you have to have," Hill said Saturday after his sharp pitching and some small-ball offense helped the Cubs end a four-game losing streak by beating the Cincinnati Reds 7-0.

Pitching on seven days' rest, Hill limited the Reds to three singles over seven innings on a cold and windy day at Wrigley Field. In his first outing this season, Hill allowed only one hit and one run in seven innings against the Brewers.

"I was making them cause the action, making them swing the bat. That's as simple as I can make it," Hill added.

It took Hill 10 major league starts before he got his first win last August and then he went 3-1 in September. Now as the fourth starter in the rotation, he's pitched like an ace.

Hill (2-0), who had his only major league shutout against the Reds in September, was backed by strong defense that turned a pair of double plays. He did walk four, a surprise since he didn't walk a batter during spring training or in his first start.

"He's serious about his business. He goes out after you throwing strikes and he changes speeds. Rich can win a lot of ballgames for us this year," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who finally got his first win at Wrigley Field after three straight losses.

"Mike Barrett asked me if I wanted a baseball and it was a great gesture on his part. And I said, `No,"' Piniella added.

"But yeah, it feels good to win a ballgame here and build on it. It's really a fun park to play in and manage in because of all the elements. It's almost like playing the British Open."

The Cubs broke through against Bronson Arroyo in the fifth, using a sacrifice fly by Ronny Cedeno and a suicide squeeze bunt by Cesar Izturis to take a 2-0 lead.

They drove the lanky Arroyo out in a five-run seventh inning that began with an error on Reds first baseman Jeff Conine for missing a throw.

"I just missed it. It was in the air. I should have caught it," Conine said.

Alfonso Soriano had an RBI infield hit and Ryan Theriot a run-scoring single to finish Arroyo (0-2). After reliever Jon Coutlangus walked Jacque Jones to load the bases, Derrek Lee hit a three-run double off Victor Santos.

"That's the way it goes man. I always say, it's 162 games and a long roller coaster. I'm just starting out on the bottom of the tracks. It'll turn around," said Arroyo, a 14-game winner and All-Star last season.

Michael Barrett and Floyd opened with singles in the fifth and moved up on Arroyo's wild pitch. Cedeno delivered the sacrifice fly to left, also moving Floyd to third. With Floyd breaking for the plate, Izturis fell down in the box as he reached for the ball and dropped the bunt out in the front of the plate to make it 2-0.

"My job is the put the ball in play and if it goes away, try to make contact. That's what I did," Izturis said.

Floyd reached on Conine's error in the seventh and moved up on a sacrifice by Cedeno and a grounder. With two outs, the Reds intentionally walked pinch-hitter Daryle Ward and Soriano then beat out a grounder to shortstop to make it 3-0. Theriot followed with an RBI single to center to finish Arroyo. Moments later, Lee cleared the bases with a drive to right-center.

Why walk Ward to face Soriano? Because Soriano was just 2-for-19 against Arroyo entering the game.

"There was no reason for me to face a guy from the left side fresh off the bench that I don't know a ton about when I got a guy like Soriano that I've completely manhandled my whole career," Arroyo said.

"So, you know, I thought it was a good move. I got the ball I wanted from Soriano. I thought he was going to strike out or something weak. He just put it in a pretty good spot and (shortstop Juan) Castro couldn't quite make the play."

Bob Howry replaced Hill for the eighth and Ryan Dempster pitched the ninth to finish the six-hitter.

Notes

  • Lee has hit in all 10 of the Cubs' games.
  • The win came one day after Piniella's angry outburst during a postgame news conference.
  • The Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. and the Cubs' Lee, Jones, Ward and Floyd will wear No. 42 during Sunday's game to honor Jackie Robinson. Cubs coaches Gerald Perry and Lester Strode will also wear the number.
  • The gametime temperature Saturday was 46 and the wind blew in at 17 mph. Announced attendance was 38,598.
 
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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Rich Hill has given up just one run and four hits in 14 innings of work this season.  (Getty Images)
Rich Hill has given up just one run and four hits in 14 innings of work this season. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Chicago

R. Hill
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 4
K 5
Chicago

D. Lee
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
 
Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, CF3010100 .273
Brandon Phillips, 2B4010013 .195
Adam Dunn, LF4010024 .326
Jeff Conine, 1B4010001 .333
Ken Griffey Jr., RF3010101 .257
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B3000113 .194
Juan Castro, SS3000123 .167
David Ross, C3010022 .095
Bronson Arroyo, P2000010 .143
    Jon Coutlangus, P0000000 .000
    Victor Santos, P0000000 .000
   a- Scott Hatteberg, PH1000001 .217
    Kirk Saarloos, P0000000 .000
Totals3006049  
a-fouled out for Santos in the 8th
Batting
SB - Adam Dunn (3, 2nd base off Hill/Barrett), Edwin Encarnacion (2, 2nd base off Hill/Barrett)
CS - Ryan Freel (2, 2nd base by Hill/Barrett)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - B. Phillips-Castro-Conine, Castro-B. Phillips-Conine
E - Jeff Conine (1, Missed catch of throw)
Cincinnati Reds
Bronson Arroyo (L,0-2) 6.2862340 3.48
Jon Coutlangus0011100 6.75
Victor Santos 0.1100100 0.00
Kirk Saarloos 1000000 1.59
IBB - Ward by Bronson Arroyo
WP - Bronson Arroyo (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Bronson Arroyo 104-65, Jon Coutlangus 7-3, Victor Santos 9-3, Kirk Saarloos 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bronson Arroyo 9-5, Kirk Saarloos 1-2
Batters Faced - Bronson Arroyo 29, Jon Coutlangus 1, Victor Santos 3, Kirk Saarloos 3
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, CF4121011 .233
Ryan Theriot, 3B3121010 .294
Jacque Jones, RF3110111 .270
Derrek Lee, 1B3013101 .390
Michael Barrett, C2110202 .250
Cliff Floyd, LF4210003 .320
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .000
Ronny Cedeno, 2B2001000 .083
Cesar Izturis, SS3011001 .226
Rich Hill, P2000011 .000
   a- Daryle Ward, PH0100100 .200
    Matt Murton, LF1000000 .250
Totals2779754  
a-was walked intentionally for Hill in the 7th
Batting
2B - Derrek Lee (5, Santos)
SF - Ronny Cedeno (1)
SH - Ryan Theriot (2), Ronny Cedeno (1), Cesar Izturis (1)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (1), Ryan Theriot (4), Derrek Lee 3 (8), Ronny Cedeno (2), Cesar Izturis (2)
2-OUT RBI - Alfonso Soriano (1), Ryan Theriot (2), Derrek Lee 3 (4)
PK - Alfonso Soriano (3, Arroyo)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Cedeno-Izturis-Lee, Cedeno-Izturis-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Rich Hill (W,2-0) 7300450 0.64
Bob Howry 1200020 4.76
Ryan Dempster 1100020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Hill 95-58, Bob Howry 20-13, Ryan Dempster 10-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Hill 6-7, Ryan Dempster 1-0
Batters Faced - Rich Hill 25, Bob Howry 5, Ryan Dempster 4
Game Information
Attendance - 38598
Game Time - 2:24
Temperature - 46
Umpires - Home - Kerwin Danley, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Derryl Cousins