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Cincinnati (55-71)000000000031
Chi. Cubs (77-48) «00001004x580

Cubs' Harden fans 10 in shutout victory against lifeless Reds

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Rich Harden has been as good -- maybe even better -- than the Chicago Cubs expected when they acquired him in a trade from Oakland six weeks ago.

Harden allowed two hits in seven innings Tuesday night, striking out 10 and bunting in the go-ahead run for his first major league RBI as the surging Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-0.

"I think maybe a new league, seeing new guys and they haven't seen me that much," Harden said after his fourth 10-strikeout game in seven starts for the Cubs.

"I haven't seen them, also. It's a process," he added. "The more I see them I have to make adjustments and the more they see me they'll be making adjustments. But I definitely think it makes a difference."

Harden has made a difference for the Cubs, who already had a strong rotation with Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly. They thought Harden would give them the extra push toward the playoffs -- if they can keep him healthy.

"We just got to watch him, keep him fresh and keep him strong," Chicago manager Lou Piniella said. "This kid is a competitor. He pitches with confidence and he's done a real nice job here, obviously."

With the victory, the NL Central-leading Cubs (77-48) improved to a season-high 29 games over .500. Chicago has won seven of eight and 17 of its past 21.

"One thing about our pitching staff for a good while now, they've given us the chance to win games on a continual basis," Piniella said.

Harden (3-1) won a duel with Johnny Cueto (8-12), who gave up four hits over seven innings in the fast-paced game.

Harden, who picked up his first victory at Wrigley Field, didn't walk a batter and allowed singles to Jeff Keppinger in the fourth and Chris Dickerson in the sixth. Dickerson was the lone Red to reach scoring position when he stole second with two outs before Harden fanned Keppinger.

"That's the first time that we've seen him," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Harden, who came to the Cubs in a July 8 trade. "The thing about him is he'll throw 88 (mph), 89, 90 and then when he gets to two strikes, he can pump it up to 94 or 96."

Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless eighth and Kerry Wood gave up a two-out single to Keppinger in the ninth while completing the three-hitter.

Cueto (8-12) allowed the one run while walking two and striking out six.

"That's as well as he's thrown the ball since early in the year," Baker said.

Geovany Soto had a leadoff triple in the fifth when his long drive to right-center hit off the glove of a diving Corey Patterson.

After a walk to Kosuke Fukudome and a strikeout, Harden dropped down a bunt. When third baseman Edwin Encarnacion threw to first for the out, Soto broke for the plate and scored when first baseman Joey Votto made a low throw that bounded away from catcher Paul Bako. Harden got an RBI on the play, while Votto was charged with an error for allowing Fukudome to advance.

"I was looking behind my shoulder and he was freezing. That's why I went to first. It was a tough play," Encarnacion said.

Piniella lauded Soto's "heads-up" baseball on the play, saying it's not the type of daring baserunning often seen by a catcher.

"I just followed the third baseman down the line and I was pretty far down and whenever he let go of the ball, I thought it was going to be a cruise," Soto said.

"But I'm not that fast, so I just got to go headfirst into home plate. Luckily I scored."

Chicago added four runs in the eighth off relievers Mike Lincoln and Bill Bray. Derek Lee had an RBI single, Aramis Ramirez a run-scoring double and Fukudome a two-run, bases-loaded single.

Notes

  • Reds RHP Jared Burton, on the 15-day DL with a strained muscle in his back, is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Wednesday, according to Baker.
  • RHP Aaron Harang had his scheduled start pushed back a day from Thursday to Friday after he experienced neck spasms. RHP Josh Fogg will start on Thursday against the Cubs, while Harang will pitch Friday versus Colorado.
  • The Cubs are 34-22 against the NL Central.
 
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 Harden overwhelms the struggling Reds with 10 strikeouts through seven shutout innings.  (AP)
Rich Harden overwhelms the struggling Reds with 10 strikeouts through seven shutout innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

R. Harden
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 0
K 10
Chicago

K. Fukudome
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Cincinnati Reds
Chris Dickerson, LF4010010 .385
Jeff Keppinger, SS4020011 .264
Jay Bruce, RF4000032 .260
Brandon Phillips, 2B3000011 .269
Joey Votto, 1B3000020 .279
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B3000020 .249
Corey Patterson, CF3000010 .195
Paul Bako, C3000010 .213
Johnny Cueto, P2000000 .027
    Mike Lincoln, P0000000 .000
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
    Gary Majewski, P0000000 .000
   a- Javier Valentin, PH1000010 .254
Totals30030013  
a-struck out for Majewski in the 9th
Batting
SB - Chris Dickerson (2, 2nd base off Harden/Soto)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Encarnacion-B. Phillips-Votto
E - Joey Votto (10, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
Johnny Cueto (L,8-12) 7411260 4.74
Mike Lincoln0344000 4.14
Bill Bray 0.1100110 2.68
Gary Majewski 0.2000000 4.45
IBB - Soto by Bill Bray
HBP - Ramirez (by Johnny Cueto), Edmonds (by Johnny Cueto)
Pitches-Strikes - Johnny Cueto 112-68, Mike Lincoln 9-5, Bill Bray 15-9, Gary Majewski 3-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johnny Cueto 9-4, Mike Lincoln 1-0
Batters Faced - Johnny Cueto 27, Mike Lincoln 4, Bill Bray 3, Gary Majewski 2
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF4110011 .292
Ryan Theriot, SS3110001 .316
Derrek Lee, 1B4121001 .292
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3111012 .287
Jim Edmonds, CF1000111 .237
   a- Reed Johnson, PH-CF1000012 .313
Geovany Soto, C3110103 .286
Kosuke Fukudome, RF3012101 .268
Mark DeRosa, 2B4010014 .278
Rich Harden, P1001011 .118
   b- Mike Fontenot, PH1000010 .289
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
   c- Daryle Ward, PH1000002 .219
    Kerry Wood, P0000000 .000
Totals2958537  
a-struck out for Edmonds in the 8th
b-struck out for Harden in the 7th
c-flied out for Marmol in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Theriot (17, Cueto), Derrek Lee (32, Cueto), Aramis Ramirez (34, Lincoln), Mark DeRosa (23, Cueto)
3B - Geovany Soto (2, Cueto)
SH - Ryan Theriot (4), Rich Harden (4)
RBI - Derrek Lee (72), Aramis Ramirez (84), Kosuke Fukudome 2 (47), Rich Harden (1)
PK - Alfonso Soriano (3, Cueto)
Team LOB - 7
Chicago Cubs
Rich Harden (W,8-2) 72000100 2.04
Carlos Marmol (H,23) 1000010 2.77
Kerry Wood 1100020 2.66
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Harden 94-62, Carlos Marmol 11-7, Kerry Wood 16-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Harden 3-8, Carlos Marmol 1-1
Batters Faced - Rich Harden 23, Carlos Marmol 3, Kerry Wood 4
Game Information
Attendance - 41208
Game Time - 2:25
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Tim McClelland, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Todd Tichenor