Cubs 12, Reds 8

The Chicago Cubs’ long night in New York proved to cause no

problems in Cincinnati.

Starlin Castro homered, scored four runs and drove in three

while extending his career-high hitting streak to 13 games and the

Cubs shook off their fatigue to pound out a 12-8 win over the

Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a four-game series on Monday.

The Cubs needed 11 innings to beat the Mets 10-6 on Sunday night

and didn’t arrive in Cincinnati until 5:30 a.m. Monday, but they

still managed to get 16 hits, including three home runs and five

doubles.

”Coming off some rough travel and an interesting weekend in New

York, it was nice to see us come out and do that,” said manager

Mike Quade, whose team participated as New York commemorated the

10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the

World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Aramis Ramirez also had three hits, including a double and his

25th homer of the season, and Jeff Baker added a home run as the

Cubs won a third consecutive game for the first time since Aug. 15

and matched their season high in runs. They also scored 12 in a

12-7 win over Milwaukee on June 16.

Brandon Phillips hit two of Cincinnati’s four home runs and Juan

Francisco hit a tape-measure shot, but the Reds couldn’t avoid

their third consecutive loss and fourth in five games.

Rodrigo Lopez lasted 5 1-3 innings to earn the win despite

allowing nine hits, including all four of Cincinnati’s homers, and

five runs. Lopez (5-6) had a walk and a strikeout.

The Cubs pounced on Cincinnati starter Dontrelle Willis for

three first-inning runs and knocked him out of the game in the

fourth. Willis (0-6) gave up for nine hits and eight runs, one

short of tying his career high, and walked three.

”Castro got us off to a good start,” Quade said. ”It was good

to give Rodrigo some run support.”

Francisco got the Reds on the board with his third homer of the

season, a mammoth drive off of Lopez’s 1-0 pitch in the second

inning. The 502-foot shot was second-longest at Great American Ball

Park since it opened in 2003 to Adam Dunn’s 535-foot shot to

right-center in 2004.

Somebody told him the ball hit a tree outside the stadium.

”I hit a couple out of the ballpark at (Single-A) Dayton,” he

recalled. ”It was just a good pitch to hit. I don’t know if they

got the ball or not, but they put a branch up there.”

Quade was surprised to hear the public address announcer

announce the distance before Francisco’s next at bat.

”I can’t remember the P.A. guy announcing how far a ball

went,” Quade said. ”How do they measure that?”

Willis followed one out later with a vicious line-drive single

off of Baker’s glove at first base, and Brandon Phillips – who got

his first day off on Sunday since Aug. 13 – hit his 13th homer, a

459-foot shot into the second deck in left field.

The Cubs regained the lead in the third on Baker’s third homer

of the season, a 372-foot opposite-field drive into the second row

of the right-field seats. They broke the game open with three runs

in the fourth, the first scoring on the first of Castro’s two

doubles in the game. He added a two-run homer in the fifth, and

Ramirez led off the sixth with his 25th homer of the season.

”It was real tough,” said Castro, who now has 190 hits and has

reached base at least once in a career-high 25 consecutive games.

”You know you’re not going to sleep good. You’ve got to sleep

quick.”

Phillips led off the Reds’ fifth with his second homer of the

game, giving him two multihomer games this season and eight in his

career, and rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco hit the first pitch of

the sixth inning into the left field seats for his first career

home run.

Notes: Reds utility INF Chris Valaika will have season-ending

surgery next week to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in

his right knee. He was hurt in the top of the fifth inning Sunday

at Colorado when his spikes caught in the dirt as he was swinging

at a pitch from LHP Drew Pomeranz. … SS Zack Cozart, already

sidelined with Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) elbow,

is scheduled to have minor surgery to clean out his right ankle.

… RHP Mike Leake’s start Tuesday against the Cubs is expected to

be his final start of the season. Leake has logged 159.2 innings,

21.1 more than he pitched last season, and the club is trying to

limit him to an increase of about 30 innings. … RHP Ryan

Dempster, Chicago’s scheduled starter on Tuesday, is 2-0 with a

3.00 ERA in his last three starts against the Reds.