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.