Reds 4, Cubs 3

Drew Stubbs’ swing was a mess. So was his mind.

Nothing that a little trip to Wrigley Field couldn’t fix.

Stubbs hurt the Chicago Cubs once again, hitting a tiebreaking
homer in the eighth inning and driving in a pair of runs to lead
the surging Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3 victory Saturday.

Stubbs doubled and scored in the third, started the eighth with
his 14th homer and singled in a run in the ninth. The speedy center
fielder snapped out of a 1-for-37 funk after being benched for five
games. He is batting .318 with five homers against the Cubs this
season.

”I just used the past few days to clean the slate,” Stubbs
said. ”I had a lot of things going on in my head, and I stepped
back to where I was earlier. I made some good swings today.”

Reds closer Francisco Cordero entered with a 4-1 lead but walked
the bases loaded and before forcing in a run by hitting Starlin
Castro with an 0-2 pitch. Nick Masset came on and struck out Derrek
Lee, walked Aramis Ramirez for Chicago’s final run and struck out
Marlon Byrd for his second save.

Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker, who was fired by the Cubs after
the 2006 season, pumped his fist in celebration after Byrd went
down.

”These games are taking some hours out of my life,” said
Baker, who watched Cordero walk two in the ninth inning Friday
before wrapping up a 3-0 victory. ”Every time you think you have
this game figured out, something happens to let you know you
don’t.”

The NL Central-leading Reds have won six of seven to move 15
games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1999
season.

The Cubs, who have the NL’s highest payroll and were expected to
contend, have dropped nine of 10 to fall to 47-63. They are 3-9
against the Reds this year.

”In no way, shape or form would we have thought we’d be sitting
in this position,” Lee said. ”It’s just such a bad taste in your
mouth when you play like this.

”Bases loaded, one out (in the ninth) … I’m expecting to hit
something in the gap. When instead you strike out, that’s the
disappointing part, when you know what you’re capable of doing and
it’s just not happening.”

Randy Wells (5-10) opened with seven innings of three-hit ball
and Cubs manager Lou Piniella let him bat in the bottom of the
seventh in a 1-1 game. Chicago failed to score and Stubbs hit
Wells’ second pitch of the eighth into the left-field
bleachers.

”Stubbs hit a pretty good pitch, a good slider down and way,”
said Wells, who was 3-0 with a 2.30 career ERA against the Reds.
”He’s a tough out.”

Stubbs also hit a go-ahead grand slam in eighth inning of
Cincinnati’s 5-4 victory over Chicago on April 9, and had a
three-homer game at Wrigley Field on July 4. His drive off Wells
was his first since he went deep twice against Colorado on July
17.

”It’s a great place to play, a great atmosphere,” Stubbs said
of Chicago’s cozy neighborhood ballpark.

Ramon Hernandez followed Stubbs’ shot with a single and Chris
Heisey walked, chasing Wells. After Justin Berg got Brandon
Phillips to ground into a double play, Paul Janish singled to make
it 3-1.

Cincinnati took advantage of second baseman Blake DeWitt’s error
in the ninth to extend its lead. DeWitt dropped Laynce Nix’s popup,
allowing him to reach second, and Stubbs hit an RBI single to left
with two out.

Edinson Volquez allowed one run and six hits in 6 2-3 innings
for the Reds. Making his fifth start since undergoing major elbow
surgery last August, the right-hander threw 105 pitches, his first
triple-digit effort since May 10, 2009.

Volquez issued two of his four walks in the seventh, when Logan
Ondrusek (3-0) came on to get the final out. Ondrusek also worked a
hitless eighth.

Lee hit a sacrifice fly in the third for the Cubs, driving in
Kosuke Fukudome and tying it at 1. Fukudome doubled with one out
and moved to third on Castro’s single.

Fukudome, who batted .152 in his previous 32 games and lost his
right-field job to rookie Tyler Colvin, started consecutive games
for the first time in exactly a month. Now Colvin is slumping and
Piniella said the rookie will get a few days off.

NOTES: Volquez has a career 0.96 ERA against the Cubs … It’s
not quite Aroldis Chapman’s time, but that time is fast
approaching. The Reds called up RHP Carlos Fisher from Triple-A
Louisville to replace RHP Russ Springer, who went on the disabled
list with a strained left hip. But speaking about the
organization’s much-hyped pitching prospect from Cuba, Baker said:
”We’ll see Chapman soon enough.” Baker wouldn’t say if that would
be before or after Sept. 1, when rosters can be expanded. … Cubs
C Geovany Soto was sidelined by a mild right shoulder sprain.
Piniella said Soto won’t play Sunday but he hoped to have him back
Monday in San Francisco.