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Chicago at Cincinnati

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Chi. Cubs (56-48) «030000010470
Cincinnati (45-60)000000011280

Cubs 4, Reds 2

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- If not for a rookie pitcher, the Chicago Cubs wouldn't be where they are today: First place by a percentage point.

Rookie right-hander Randy Wells took a shutout into the eighth inning Monday night, and Mike Fontenot hit a three-run homer off slumping Aaron Harang, leading the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

After stumbling through the first half of the season, the Cubs have gone 20-10 since July 1. They're 13-5 since the All-Star break, the best mark in the majors. The latest win moved them back into first place in the NL Central, a percentage point ahead of St. Louis.

"We're right there in the standings," Fontenot said. "Hopefully we'll keep winning ballgames, and all of us can get hot the last couple of months, and we'll see what happens."

Wells (8-4) has been a big part of the turnaround. The 26-year-old was called up on May 8 and has been one of the league's top newcomers. He yielded six hits, including Alex Gonzalez's solo homer with one out in the eighth, while getting his fourth consecutive victory.

"He's pitched exceedingly well," manager Lou Piniella said. "What a nice job, huh? Where would we be without this young man?"

As the wins pile up, Wells tells himself not to get caught up in the success. He made it to the majors for the first time last September, when he was called up and made three relief appearances.

His motto?

"Remember where you came from," Wells said. "Remember where you were a few months ago. Don't try to throw shutouts. Don't try to win Rookie of the Year."

  Reds: Surgery likely to keep Volquez out full year

Fontenot homered in the second inning off Harang (5-13), who leads the majors in losses. Harang hasn't won since May 25, going 0-9 in his last 13 starts. It's the deepest slump of his career and the longest losing streak by a Reds pitcher since Danny Graves lost 10 in a row between the 2003 and 2004.

"We need a victory, but if anybody needs a win, it's him," manager Dusty Baker said.

Heading into the series, Piniella had one concern. Closer Kevin Gregg blew both of his save chances in Florida over the weekend and reported that his pitching arm felt tired. Piniella wanted to give him a couple of days off to recharge.

Carlos Marmol gave up a run-scoring double by Gonzalez with two outs in the ninth, leaving runners at second and third. He retired Willy Taveras on a grounder, earning his fourth save in eight chances.

While the Cubs have made a U-turn at midseason, the Reds have gone the other way. They have dropped 13 of 14 and 19 of 23, consigning them to last place in the NL Central.

The Cubs know they're in good shape when their run total reaches three. The Cubs are 53-15 when scoring at least three runs, the best mark in the majors. They reached the dividing mark on one swing.

Fontenot homered for a 3-0 lead in the second. Fontenot had been in a 5-for-36 slump and hadn't homered since the last time he faced Harang, on July 24. Derrek Lee doubled home another run in the eighth off Harang, who gave up six hits and struck out a season-high 10.

"It just didn't go my way," Harang said. "What can you do? I go out and give us a chance to win. We can't seem to muster anything early on."

Notes

Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez, who was hit on the left forearm Saturday and sat out the next game, was back in the starting lineup and went 0 for 3, ending his nine-game hitting streak. ... Cincinnati fell to 1-7 on its 10-game homestand. ... Gonzalez was out of the Reds starting lineup. The shortstop was in an 0-for-20 slump when he homered in the eighth. ... 3B Scott Rolen had a headache and was out of the Reds lineup Monday, a day after he was hit in the head by a pitch from Jason Marquis. ... Reds reliever David Weathers was ejected by plate umpire Paul Emmel for arguing balls and strikes on his way to the dugout after the eighth inning.

 
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

M. Fontenot
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Cincinnati

A. Gonzalez
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Chicago Cubs
Kosuke Fukudome, CF3110211 .271
Ryan Theriot, SS3000012 .294
Derrek Lee, 1B4011021 .292
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3000110 .342
Milton Bradley, RF2100110 .248
Alfonso Soriano, LF4110023 .249
Mike Fontenot, 2B4123003 .234
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
Koyie Hill, C4010031 .204
Randy Wells, P3010001 .161
    Jeff Baker, 2B1000001 .180
    Andres Blanco, 2B0000000 .237
Totals31474411  
Batting
2B - Kosuke Fukudome (23, Harang), Derrek Lee (20, Harang), Randy Wells (1, Harang)
HR - Mike Fontenot (9, Harang)
SH - Ryan Theriot (9)
RBI - Derrek Lee (71), Mike Fontenot 3 (35)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Theriot-Fontenot-Lee, Ramirez-Baker-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Randy Wells (W,8-4) 7.1611251 2.73
John Grabow (H,17) 0.2000000 3.26
Carlos Marmol (S,4) 1211110 3.63
HBP - Votto (by John Grabow)
WP - Randy Wells (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Wells 106-69, John Grabow 3-1, Carlos Marmol 36-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Wells 10-6, John Grabow 1-0, Carlos Marmol 1-1
Batters Faced - Randy Wells 29, John Grabow 2, Carlos Marmol 6
Cincinnati Reds
Willy Taveras, CF5000012 .237
Adam Rosales, 3B4010000 .208
Joey Votto, 1B2000110 .335
Brandon Phillips, 2B4010001 .269
Laynce Nix, LF3110112 .236
Jonny Gomes, RF4010022 .273
Ryan Hanigan, C3020100 .315
Paul Janish, SS3000003 .218
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
    Danny Herrera, P0000000 .000
   a- Wladimir Balentien, PH1000002 .208
Aaron Harang, P2000011 .154
    Alex Gonzalez, SS2122000 .199
Totals3328236  
a-flied out for Herrera in the 9th
Batting
2B - Alex Gonzalez (11, Marmol)
HR - Alex Gonzalez (3, R. Wells)
RBI - Alex Gonzalez 2 (23)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Gonzalez (8)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Rosales-B. Phillips-Votto, Rosales-B. Phillips-Votto
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang (L,5-13) 7.16442101 4.52
David Weathers 0.2000210 3.41
Danny Herrera 1100000 2.64
IBB - Ramirez by David Weathers
HBP - Bradley (by Aaron Harang)
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 114-73, David Weathers 20-7, Danny Herrera 13-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 5-6, David Weathers 1-0, Danny Herrera 2-0
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 30, David Weathers 4, Danny Herrera 3
Game Information
Attendance - 22222
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Paul Emmel, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - Bill Hohn