5 - 4 Final
  for this game

Bruce's homer helps Reds edge Cubs

May 7, 2011 - 1:06 AM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer, helping the Cincinnati Reds do just enough to beat the Chicago Cubs, 5-4, in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.

Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips hit RBI singles for the Reds, who won their third consecutive game.

Starter Edinson Volquez (3-1) pitched in and out of trouble over five-plus innings. He gave up six hits and four runs (three earned), walked four, and threw 98 pitches, 57 for strikes.

Volquez has failed to get through the sixth inning in three consecutive starts, but picked up the win after the Reds bullpen threw four scoreless innings and the offense came through with key hits against Cubs starter Matt Garza (1-4).

Garza allowed all five Reds runs in six innings, giving up six hits, walking two and striking out seven. Aramis Ramirez hit an RBI single for the Cubs, who had won two in a row.

Volquez's biggest hurdle this season has been the first inning. In his six prior starts, he gave up 14 earned runs in the opening frame, but only seven the rest of the way.

He set Chicago down in order in the first inning Friday, but needed 19 pitches to do so and allowed baserunners in every other inning he threw.

Volquez's struggles gave the Cubs plenty of opportunities, including in the second, when they had two on before Volquez struck out Geovany Soto to end the threat.

Chicago then put runners on second and third with one away in the third, thanks in part to an error by shortstop Edgar Renteria. After Volquez retired Starlin Castro on a groundout, he fired a high pitch over Ramon Hernandez's mitt. It was ruled a passed ball and allowed Garza, who led off the inning with a single, to score.

But the lead didn't last long. After Volquez retired Ramirez on a grounder to get out of the inning, Renteria began the fourth with a single.

Votto followed with a walk, and two batters later Bruce hit a hanging slider into the right-center field stands, giving the Reds a 3-1 advantage.

Volquez was back in trouble in the bottom half, loading the bases with nobody out on two walks and a single. But he limited the damage again, getting Soto to ground into a run-scoring double play before retiring Garza to end the inning.

The Reds tacked on two more runs in the fifth, thanks to a two-out walk by Renteria that put runners on the corners. Votto and Phillips followed with consecutive singles to make it a 5-2 contest.

Three consecutive singles in the home half got a run back for the Cubs, and they drew within one in the sixth.

Volquez gave up a single to Marlon Byrd, then walked Carlos Pena before being pulled for Sam LeCure. LeCure allowed an RBI hit to Soto and hit Reed Johnson to load the bases with nobody out, giving the Cubs another prime scoring chance.

But LeCure sat the next three hitters down to preserve the lead.

"We got a lot of opportunities," Ramirez said. "But if we keep doing that, eventually we're going to have to start hitting better with men in scoring position."

The Cubs didn't get those kinds of opportunities during the final three innings. LeCure threw a 1-2-3 seventh before Nick Masset worked a perfect eighth.

Francisco Cordero walked Kosuke Fukudome to begin the ninth, but then caught a line drive off Darwin Barney's bat and doubled Fukudome off first. He got Castro to fly out to end the game and record his fifth save.

"We did quite a few escape acts out there today and got out of some very tough situations," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "But a win's a win."

Game Notes

Votto has reached base safely in all 32 games this season. It's the longest streak in the majors and two shy of the Reds modern record...Reds third baseman Paul Janish appeared to injure his right ankle while running the bases in the fifth, but remained in the game...The Cubs were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position...Chicago has not won three in a row all season...Bruce's homer was the first homer Garza gave up this season...Kerry Wood threw 1 2/3 scoreless relief innings for the Cubs. Friday was the 13th anniversary of his 20-strikeout game.

    CHICAGO: 4

    May 6 5:35 PM

  • Geovany Soto single to left scored Marlon Byrd. On the play, Carlos Pena advances to third. Runners on first and third with none out and Matt Garza due up.

    Reds 5, Cubs 4  Bot 6, 0 OutsMay 6 4:33 PM
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    Reds 5, Cubs 4  Bot 6, 0 OutsMay 6 4:33 PM

  • Aramis Ramirez single to left scored Darwin Barney. On the play, Starlin Castro advances to second. Runners on first and second with one out and Alfonso Soriano due up.

    Reds 5, Cubs 3  Bot 5, 1 OutMay 6 4:11 PM

  • Jay Bruce struck out swinging to end the inning.

    Reds 5, Cubs 2  Mid 5May 6 4:04 PM

  • Joey Votto single to center scored Paul Janish. On the play, Edgar Renteria advances to third. Runners on first and third with two outs and Brandon Phillips due up.

    Reds 4, Cubs 2  Top 5, 2 OutsMay 6 3:59 PM
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    Reds 4, Cubs 2  Top 5, 2 OutsMay 6 3:59 PM
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    Reds 3, Cubs 2  End 4May 6 3:47 PM

  • Geovany Soto grounded into a double play, short to first scored Alfonso Soriano. Carlos Pena out at second. Marlon Byrd advances to third. Runner on third with two outs and Matt Garza due up.

    Reds 3, Cubs 2  Bot 4, 2 OutsMay 6 3:46 PM

  • Jay Bruce one-out, three-run Home Run (7) to right scored Edgar Renteria and Joey Votto. Jonny Gomes due up.

    Reds 3, Cubs 1  Top 4, 1 OutMay 6 3:29 PM

  • Ramon Hernandez's passed ball scored Matt Garza. On the play, Darwin Barney advanced to third on the passed ball. Runner on third with two outs and Aramis Ramirez at the plate.

    Reds 0, Cubs 1  Bot 3, 2 OutsMay 6 3:20 PM
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    Reds 0, Cubs 0  Bot 3, 1 OutMay 6 3:14 PM

    CHICAGO: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    May 6 2:25 PM
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    Reds vs. CubsMar 31 2:29 PM