Reds 3, Cubs 0

Bronson Arroyo can’t remember the last time the Cincinnati Reds

had so much team depth.

This much is certain: they haven’t been at a point like this in

11 years.

Arroyo threw five-hit ball over seven innings in another

dominant effort against the Cubs, and Cincinnati beat Chicago 3-0

Friday to move 14 games over .500 for the first time since

1999.

The Reds got a two-run homer from Ryan Hanigan off Tom

Gorzelanny (6-6) in the second, an RBI single from Brandon Phillips

in the seventh and came away with their seventh win in nine games

after Francisco Cordero survived a shaky ninth.

”We’re much better than we’ve been in the last four years,”

said Arroyo, in his fifth season with Cincinnati. ”We have depth

at every position that we’ve never had before.”

After nine straight losing years, the Reds are 14 games over

.500 for the first time since they went 96-67 in 1999. And the last

time the NL Central leaders led their division this late was the

final week of that season.

The Cubs fell out of contention long ago and once again couldn’t

get anything going against Arroyo (12-6) after pounding Milwaukee

15-3 on Wednesday.

The right-hander held them scoreless for the second time this

season, striking out seven and walking one. He is 5-0 with a 1.88

ERA in his past six starts against them, including a win last month

in which he went six innings.

Arthur Rhodes retired the side in the eighth.

Cordero came on in the ninth and walked Aramis Ramirez and

Kosuke Fukudome before barehanding Blake DeWitt’s high chopper and

firing to first to end the game.

That gave Cordero 30 saves in 36 chances – the fourth straight

year and sixth time overall he’s finished with 30 or more.

”To win these close games – have guys go deep in the game, have

the bullpen come in for just two innings like that – that’s big,”

Hanigan said.

Gorzelanny settled down after a wild start and held the Reds to

three runs and four hits over seven innings. He hit a batter and

walked four – all in the first three innings. But he also retired

12 straight before a one-out single in the seventh by Paul Janish,

who scored from second on a base hit by Phillips that made it

3-0.

Hanigan supplied the big hit in the second after Jay Bruce’s

leadoff walk, lining an 0-1 pitch to the seats in left-center for

his third homer.

Arroyo did not allow a hit until Ramirez singled to deep short

with two outs in the fourth on a ball that bounced passed a

sprawled out third baseman Scott Rolen.

Ramirez, who was slow to get out of the box, moved to second on

a single by Marlon Byrd before Fukudome grounded into a force to

end the threat.

The Cubs had runners on second and third with none out in the

fifth after back-to-back singles by DeWitt and Geovany Soto and a

wild pitch. But Arroyo got out of it by striking out Gorzelanny,

retiring Tyler Colvin on a bloop to short and getting Starlin

Castro swinging at a 3-2 curve.

”We haven’t given up, we’re not going to give up,” Byrd

said.

The Cubs are 15 games under .500 and are in for a busy

offseason, with manager Lou Piniella retiring. Even so, general

manager Jim Hendry again insisted they’re not far from contending

in the future with promising young players such as Castro and

Colvin.

”It’s not some kind of a major rebuilding job,” Hendry said.

”When you start seeing the improvement in the young people we have

and the type of young arms we have – you make three or four solid

moves in the offseason and your young guys keep developing, you’re

right back into a contending team.”

Notes: Cubs pitcher Carlos Silva is scheduled to have his heart

examined on Monday and might have a procedure to correct a problem

with his heartbeat. The Cubs say the examination will determine if

he needs a cardiac ablation to correct the issue. According to the

Mayo Clinic, that procedure usually involves running a catheter

from the groin to the heart. It can also be done through open-heart

surgery. … Reds manager Dusty Baker said Russ Springer’s strained

left hip is still sore and isn’t sure if the reliever will wind up

on the DL. Springer left after facing three batters against

Pittsburgh on Wednesday in his second appearance after being called

up from Triple-A. He signed a minor league deal with the Reds on

July 17.