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Harden hurls Cubs past Reds

Jul 26, 2009 - 11:30 PM CHICAGO(AP) -- Day, night, home, road ... Rich Harden says the when and where don't matter.

He proved it Sunday with a dominating 5-2 victory over the reeling, aching Cincinnati Reds that put the Chicago Cubs atop the NL Central for the first time since April 21.

After being told that manager Lou Piniella was pleased with his six-inning, one-hit performance, Harden smiled slyly and said: "Yeah, and it was during the day, too, wasn't it?"

Harden, whose previous Wrigley Field day victory had been Aug. 24, 2008, snapped two inexplicable trends: Going into Sunday, he had a 1-5 record and 7.38 ERA in day games (vs. 5-1, 2.23 at night) and a 2-5 record and 7.59 ERA at home (vs. 4-1, 2.03 on the road).

"I had a bad first half and, of course, I pitched a lot of day games," he said. "It's the way I was throwing the ball. It's not like they were going to try to change the rotation around just to have me start all these night games."

Actually, Piniella had planned to start Harden on Monday night and moved the right-hander up a day only after Ted Lilly had to go on the disabled list.

After allowing a home run to the game's third batter, Joey Votto, Harden (7-6) retired the final 16 men he faced. He struck out eight and walked none in his 90-pitch effort and has surrendered only one run in each of his last three starts.

He called the attention he had received regarding his home and day statistics "ridiculous" and said he's feeling better after making some midseason adjustments to his mechanics.

His Cubs are feeling good, too, winning 10 of their last 13 games to move a half-game ahead of St. Louis.

"We're headed in the right direction," Piniella said. "It's only a half-game, but we're on top."

As the two-time defending division champions - and the NL Central team with by far the highest payroll - the Cubs were expected to win again. Outfielder Milton Bradley didn't seem happy about the team's ascension, complaining about the demanding fans and media.

"Are we going to get more cheers now?" he asked reporters. "Are we going to start getting bashed ... in articles about our lineup and was it better last year and all that garbage?"

The Reds happily would settle for such problems. The loss wrapped up an 0-6 road trip, their first winless multi-series trip in five years, and they fear they've lost two more players to injury.

Starter Micah Owings left after three innings due to shoulder tightness and right fielder Chris Dickerson hurt his shoulder while diving in a failed attempt to catch Koyie Hill's eighth-inning triple. Cincinnati already has seven players on the DL.

Making things even more frustrating, the Reds had a potential rally snuffed out in their eighth on what replays showed was a missed call by home-plate umpire Laz Diaz.

Trailing 3-1, the Reds loaded the bases with one out against Angel Guzman. Edwin Encarnacion tried to score on Jerry Hairston Jr.'s flyball but was called out even though he slid home ahead of center fielder Kosuke Fukudome's throw.

"Man, Dickerson looks like he's hurt pretty good," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who was obviously irritated. "Micah's shoulder is barking. Edwin was safe at the plate. Every day there's a call. Every day."

Dickerson said his injury reminded him of a torn rotator cuff he suffered in 2006. Owings said he didn't feel as bad as last year, when he missed most of the last two months with shoulder pain. Both players will be evaluated Monday in Cincinnati.

Owings (6-11) gave up two runs on three hits and four walks - including one to Fukudome with the bases loaded - in matching his shortest outing this season.

"As the game went on, it got stiffer and stiffer and tighter," he said. "I was missing some pitches by a foot and a half. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, taking myself out of the game, but I wasn't going to help by staying in there."

The Cubs went ahead 5-1 in their eighth on Hill's RBI triple and Fukudome's single. After Cincinnati scored a ninth-inning run off Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gregg struck out Encarnacion for his 21st save.

Alfonso Soriano and Jake Fox drove in Chicago's other runs.

Notes: It was the first time since May 2001 that the Cubs swept the Reds in a three-game home series ... Cubs 1B Derrek Lee, who suffered neck spasms after a hard slide Saturday, sat out Sunday but expects to play Monday.








  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    CINCINNATI (2) AT CHICAGO CUBS (5) - HOW THEY SCORED
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    CINCINNATI 1ST: C Dickerson grounded out, pitcher R Harden to first baseman
    J Fox. W Taveras flied out to right fielder M Bradley. J Votto homered to right on
    a 1-2 count. B Phillips grounded out, second baseman M Fontenot to first baseman

    Jul 26 5:25 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY BRANDON PHILLIPS SCORED PAUL JANISH
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, W TAVERAS ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 2
    CHICAGO CUBS 5 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: E ENCARNACION (.202, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Reds 2, Cubs 5  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 26 5:17 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KOSUKE FUKUDOME SCORED KOYIE HILL
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, K FUKUDOME ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 5 BOTTOM,8TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R THERIOT (.300, 2-FOR-4)

    Reds 1, Cubs 5  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 26 5:02 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY KOYIE HILL SCORED REED JOHNSON
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K HILL ON THIRD, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 4 BOTTOM,8TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A BLANCO (.224, 0 HR, 8 RBI)

    Reds 1, Cubs 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 26 4:56 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JAKE FOX SCORED RYAN THERIOT
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J FOX ON FIRST, A RAMIREZ ON THIRD, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 3 BOTTOM,7TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: M BRADLEY (.249, 1-FOR-1, 2 BB)

    Reds 1, Cubs 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 26 4:30 PM
  • 5
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    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    Reds 1, Cubs 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 26 4:30 PM
  • 40
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Reds 1, Cubs 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 26 4:24 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ALFONSO SORIANO SCORED MILTON BRADLEY
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A SORIANO ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 2 BOTTOM,3RD
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: M FONTENOT (.232, 0-FOR-1)

    Reds 1, Cubs 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 26 3:21 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO KOSUKE FUKUDOME SCORED MILTON BRADLEY
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K FUKUDOME ON FIRST, K HILL ON SECOND, A
    SORIANO ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 BOTTOM,2ND
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R THERIOT (.300, 1-FOR-1)

    Reds 1, Cubs 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 26 3:01 PM


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


    CURRENT PITCHERS: CIN - MICAH OWINGS
    CHN - RICH HARDEN

    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: K FUKUDOME (.266, 7 HR, 29 RBI)
    R THERIOT (.298, 7 HR, 37 RBI)
    A RAMIREZ (.325, 7 HR, 25 RBI)

    Reds 1, Cubs 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 26 2:31 PM
  • 5
    roots
    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Reds vs. CubsJul 26 11:01 AM