Reds
Cubs
2 - 3 Final
  for this game

Murton, Cubs edge Reds, take over first place in NL Central

Sep 20, 2007 - 5:26 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Matt Murton sent the crowd home happy.

Murton broke a tie in the eighth inning as the Chicago Cubs edged the Cincinnati Reds, 3-2, on Wednesday.

Alfonso Soriano and rookie Geovany Soto each hit solo homers and starter Ted Lilly was effective despite not earning the win for Chicago, which took a one game lead in the National League Central division.

"Lilly has stopped a lot of losing streaks for us," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "There was no bigger game than tonight. If there was a must game for us this year, truthfully this was it."

The Cubs (80-73), who entered the game in a virtual tie with the Milwaukee Brewers (78-73) for the lead in the Central Division, have nine games remaining on their schedule. Milwaukee lost to the Houston Astros Wednesday night.

"This is something that will probably go right down until the end," Lilly said. "We just have to take care of our games."

With the score tied at 2-2 with one out in the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Theriot singled to right off Reds reliever Gary Majewski (0-3) and took second when right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. bobbled the ball.

"In that situation I am watching Griffey all the way," Theriot said. "I was running full out when I saw him bobble it, I just kept going."

Derrek Lee then singled to right, to put runners on first and third. Griffey was injured fielding the ball and was replaced by rookie Buck Coats.

"Junior has a lower abdominal strain and will go back to Cincinnati tomorrow and get checked out," Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. "We don't know how bad the injury is."

Griffey admitted to being in severe pain as he fell to the ground.

"That part (abdominal area) had been a little bit sore," Griffey said. "It was very painful. I knew I threw the ball back towards the infield, but I didn't even know where I threw it."

After Mike Stanton replaced Majewski, Murton, pinch hitting for Cliff Floyd, hit a low liner to left field that Adam Dunn trapped in his glove, sending the speedy Theriot home to put the Cubs up, 3-2. The play was ruled a fielders choice when Lee was thrown out at second, not sure if the ball was caught.

"I haven't seen a replay but I know I caught the ball," Dunn said. "I was still going to go home with the ball, then somebody yelled for me to go to second with the throw. That turned out to be a good play."

The Reds nearly had the lead a half inning earlier, when with a runner on second and two outs, Brandon Phillips singled to left off Cubs reliever Bobby Howry (6-7) but a strong throw by Soriano gunned down Norris Hopper at the plate preserving the tie. It was Soriano's 16th assist this season.

"Soriano made a great throw getting Hopper at the plate," Mackanin said. "I have no problem with the runner going home in that situation. There were two outs so Mark (third base coach Berry) had to send him."

Howry, who allowed a hit over two innings, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to give the Cubs the win.

"I had a day off so I felt especially strong tonight," Howry said. "Before the game Lou told me to be ready to go two innings. I wasn't surprised that I finished the game, but I didn't know (closer Ryan) Dempster was sick (Flu like symptoms)."

Chicago took a quick lead when Soriano led off the bottom of the first by hitting the first pitch he saw from Reds starter Tom Shearn into the seats in left field to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. It was Soriano's 28th homer and ninth to lead off a game this season.

"I was more excited about the throw I made in the eighth inning, "Soriano said. "This was a big win but they are all big now."

The blast also broke the single-season club record for lead-off homers held by Rick Monday set in 1976. Soriano now has 41 career leadoff homers, fourth most in major league history.

Cincinnati tied it an inning later when with one out Edwin Encarnacion drove a 1-1 pitch by Lilly into the bleachers in left to knot the game at 1-1. It was the 15th homer by Encarnacion, matching his career high from 2006.

The Reds quieted the Wrigley Field faithful in the fourth when Dunn hit a towering drive off Lilly out of the ballpark and onto Sheffield Avenue to give Cincinnati a one-run lead. It was the slugger's 40th homer, the fourth straight season Dunn has reached that mark.

"This is one of those things (records) I will think about when I am done," Dunn said. "It doesn't mean that much to me right now. It's cool I guess."

However in the fifth, Soto hit a game-tying solo shot on a 2-0 fastball from Shearn into the third row of seats in left to even the score. It was the second career homer by the rookie catcher, who was called up from Class AAA Iowa on September 1.

Lilly left after seven innings, yielding two runs, five hits and a walk, while striking out eight. The nine-year veteran, who was looking for his career-high 16th victory, did set a personal career high with 200 innings pitched in 2007, and also tying his personal best in strikeouts with 168, also done in 2004.

"I felt strong out there tonight," Lilly said. "I was just concentrating on making good pitches, I wasn't concerned with pitch count."

Shearn allowed two runs, six hits and two walks in six innings. The 30-year-old rookie righthander, who struck out three, has given up three runs or fewer in each of his six starts while hurling at least six innings four times.

"My defense was great behind me," Shearn said. "It took me six starts to get my first double play ball. To get five here tonight was amazing."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CINCINNATI 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 x 3 9 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CIN - TOM SHEARN, EDDIE GUARDADO (7TH), GARY MAJEWSKI (8TH), MIKE
    STANTON (8TH), TODD COFFEY (8TH) AND DAVID ROSS
    CHN - TED LILLY, BOBBY HOWRY (8TH) AND GEOVANY SOT

    Sep 19 10:41 PM
  • 45
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    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Reds vs. CubsSep 19 10:31 PM
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    AFaust3 Added 5 roots

    Reds vs. CubsSep 19 10:30 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY MATT MURTON SCORED RYAN THERIOT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M MURTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 2
    CHICAGO CUBS 3 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A RAMIREZ (.314, 0-FOR-3)

    Reds vs. CubsSep 19 10:27 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY GEOVANY SOTO (2) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    5TH OFF TOM SHEARN.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 2, CHICAGO CUBS 2
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: T LILLY (.141, 0-FOR-1)

    Reds vs. CubsSep 19 9:25 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ADAM DUNN (40) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    4TH OFF TED LILLY.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 2, CHICAGO CUBS 1
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: E ENCARNACION (.295, 1-FOR-1, HR, RBI)

    Reds vs. CubsSep 19 9:06 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY EDWIN ENCARNACION (15) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 2ND OFF TED LILLY.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1, CHICAGO CUBS 1
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: J VOTTO (.405, 2 HR, 9 RBI)

    Reds vs. CubsSep 19 8:29 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS
    CONFIRMED STARTERS: CIN - TOM SHEARN
    CHN - TED LILLY

    Reds vs. CubsSep 19 8:20 PM
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    flamingmonk Added 5 roots

    Reds vs. CubsSep 19 12:09 PM