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Cincinnati (69-83)010100000261
Chi. Cubs (80-73) «10001001x392

Soriano delivers twice to take first-place Cubs over Reds

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Alfonso Soriano sparked the Cubs with his swing and saved them with his arm Wednesday night as Chicago reclaimed first place in the NL Central with another dramatic victory.

Soriano hit a leadoff home run and made a great throw to preserve a tie in the top of the eighth. The Cubs then scored a strange, go-ahead run in the bottom half of the inning after Ken Griffey Jr. was injured to beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2.

The victory, coupled with Houston's 5-4 win over Milwaukee, gave the Cubs a one-game lead.

"If ever there was a must game for us this year, truthfully this was it," manager Lou Piniella said.

And Soriano provided the boost.

Brandon Phillips hit a sharp single to left field that Soriano fielded, and his throw cut down the speedy Norris Hopper at the plate to preserve a 2-2 tie. It wasn't close.

It was the 16th assist of the season for Soriano, a former second baseman.

"He hit it very hard and I took it on once bounce and made a good throw," Soriano said. "That's what I have to do. I know the runner on second runs very good."

Soriano's throw with a three-quarter motion is deceptive and arrives quickly.

"I'm happy that they run on me," he said.

"He's got that little fade into home plate. I wish I had that on the golf course," Piniella said.

With one out in the Cubs eighth, Ryan Theriot singled and made it second when Griffey fumbled the ball in right field for an error.

Derrek Lee followed with another single to right. As Griffey fielded the ball and started to make a throw, he stopped in pain. Griffey underhanded the ball back to the infield and fell to the ground as Theriot held third.

Griffey stayed down for several minutes and gingerly walked off with trainers at his side. The Reds said he had a lower abdominal strain.

"Hopefully it's not as bad as it feels," said Griffey, who will return to Cincinnati on Thursday to be examined by team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek.

Griffey said he got hurt when he made a little change of direction after backhanding Lee's hit and doesn't remember much about his underhanded throw.

"I knew I threw it, but that's about it," he said. "It's been a little sore for a while. But it's a situation where the games don't mean anything for us, but you have to go out there and try to finish strong and hopefully be tough on other teams."

Mike Stanton replaced Gary Majewski (0-3) and pinch-hitter Matt Murton hit a sinking liner to left that a sliding Adam Dunn was ruled to have trapped. Dunn threw to second to force Lee as Theriot scored.

"I have to look at the replay, but I know I caught it," Dunn said. "It wouldn't have mattered either way but that was kind of the reason that I slid that way instead of diving head first because at least I would have had a chance to maybe make a throw."

Dunn said the outfield at Wrigley Field is dangerous.

"I'm surprised more people don't get injured out there. It's as bad as there is," he said. "It's worse than playing in a parking lot. It looks like they had a monster truck rally. It's terrible. There's potholes. It's bad. It's unsafe."

Bob Howry (6-7) pitched two innings for the win.

Soriano and rookie Geovany Soto hit solo home runs off Tom Shearn. The Reds helped out the 30-year-old rookie by turning three double plays in his six innings.

Dunn hit his 40th homer and Edwin Encarnacion also connected off Ted Lilly. The left-hander went seven innings and gave up five hits and two runs while pitching on three days' rest.

Soriano's leadoff homer was his ninth the season, setting a Cubs' franchise record. Rick Monday hit eight in 1976.

Soto, the Pacific Coast League Player of the Year, hit his second homer since being recalled on Sept. 1.

Encarnacion hit his 15th, and second in two nights, to tie it at 1-1 in the second.

Dunn reached 40 homers for the fourth consecutive season -- a club record -- by launching a long drive onto Sheffield Avenue for a 2-1 lead in the fourth.

Like Carlos Zambrano on Tuesday night, Lilly worked on short rest so he could get two more starts in the final week and a half of the regular season. He gave up an infield hit to Hopper and a single to Jeff Keppinger to start the first, but escaped by getting Griffey to ground into a double play.

The Reds threatened again in the seventh when Dunn walked and Lee missed Joey Votto's grounder to first base for an error, putting runners at the corners. Lilly struck out David Ross and pinch-hitter Alex Gonzalez, leaving the game tied.

Notes

  • Shearn spent 12 years in the minors before making his major league debut last month. He mixed an assortment of pitches at different speeds -- in one three-pitch sequence, his offerings were clocked at 86 mph, 68 and then 74.
  • Mark DeRosa was 2-for-2 and is 14-for-15 in his last four games against the Reds.
  • Dunn's homer was the 20th of his career at Wrigley Field.
 
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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Up close and personal: Cubs catcher Geovany Soto tags out Norris Hopper on Alfonso Soriano's throw.  (AP)
Up close and personal: Cubs catcher Geovany Soto tags out Norris Hopper on Alfonso Soriano's throw. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

T. Lilly
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 1
K 8
Chicago

A. Soriano
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Cincinnati Reds
Norris Hopper, CF4020010 .336
Jeff Keppinger, SS3010001 .338
Ken Griffey Jr., RF4000033 .277
    Buck Coats, RF0000000 .111
Brandon Phillips, 2B4010002 .294
Adam Dunn, LF3111110 .267
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4111011 .293
Joey Votto, 1B4000010 .366
David Ross, C3000012 .199
Tom Shearn, P2000010 .000
   a- Alex Gonzalez, PH1000012 .272
    Eddie Guardado, P0000000 .000
    Gary Majewski, P0000000 .000
    Mike Stanton, P0000000 .000
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
Totals32262110  
a-struck out for Shearn in the 7th
Batting
2B - Norris Hopper (13, Lilly)
HR - Adam Dunn (40, Lilly), Edwin Encarnacion (15, Lilly)
SH - Jeff Keppinger (6)
RBI - Adam Dunn (106), Edwin Encarnacion (73)
SB - Norris Hopper (13, 3rd base off Lilly/Soto)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Adam Dunn 1
DP - B. Phillips-Keppinger-Votto, Keppinger-B. Phillips-Votto, Keppinger-B. Phillips-Votto
E - Ken Griffey Jr. (8, Misplayed grounder)
Cincinnati Reds
Tom Shearn 6622232 3.94
Eddie Guardado 1100010 9.28
Gary Majewski (L,0-3) 0.1210010 7.97
Mike Stanton 0.1000000 5.73
Todd Coffey 0.1000000 6.36
Pitches-Strikes - Tom Shearn 82-48, Eddie Guardado 12-8, Gary Majewski 11-7, Mike Stanton 1-1, Todd Coffey 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Shearn 6-6, Mike Stanton 1-0, Todd Coffey 1-0
Batters Faced - Tom Shearn 23, Eddie Guardado 4, Gary Majewski 3, Mike Stanton 1, Todd Coffey 1
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF4121010 .292
Ryan Theriot, SS4120001 .268
Derrek Lee, 1B3010101 .310
Cliff Floyd, RF3000012 .284
   a- Matt Murton, PH1001000 .271
    Felix Pie, PR-CF0000000 .214
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4000002 .313
Mark DeRosa, 2B2020100 .297
Jacque Jones, CF-RF3010002 .274
Geovany Soto, C3111013 .387
Ted Lilly, P2000012 .139
   b- Craig Monroe, PH1000011 .222
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
Totals3039325  
a-hit into fielder's choice for Floyd in the 8th
b-struck out for Lilly in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jacque Jones (30, Shearn)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (28, Shearn), Geovany Soto (2, Shearn)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (59), Matt Murton (21), Geovany Soto (4)
SB - Felix Pie (7, 2nd base off Coffey/Ross)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alfonso Soriano 1
DP - DeRosa-Theriot-Lee
E - Mark DeRosa (10, Misplayed grounder), Derrek Lee (7, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
Ted Lilly 7522182 3.78
Bob Howry (W,6-7) 2100020 3.38
Pitches-Strikes - Ted Lilly 99-73, Bob Howry 28-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ted Lilly 7-6, Bob Howry 3-1
Batters Faced - Ted Lilly 27, Bob Howry 7
Game Information
Attendance - 40805
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Rick Reed, Third Base - Tim Timmons