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Casey helps get Cincy bats heated up

CHICAGO -- Sean Casey knew it was just a matter of time until the Cincinnati Reds' bats would heat up again.

Casey knocked Cubs starter Jason Bere out with a line drive off the pitcher's right knee and also hit one of four Cincinnati homers as the Reds beat Chicago 8-6 Wednesday.

Todd Walker, Adam Dunn and Juan Encarnacion also homered for the Reds, who are 33-23 with injured star Ken Griffey Jr. out of the starting lineup. Cincinnati has scored 13 runs in two wins after getting 15 during an eight-game losing streak which ended Tuesday.

''It is a long season, it is a 162 games. Some times are good, some times aren't good, some times are average,'' Casey said. ''That is the way that the game is. I learned that over the years.''

Jimmy Haynes (8-6) won for the fifth time in seven starts, allowing three runs and nine hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one. Haynes has already matched last season win total.

''The thing is that I really didn't pitch that bad last year, just the record made it look a lot worse than it was,'' Haynes said.

With one out in the third inning, Casey hit a line drive that ricocheted off Bere's right knee into foul territory. The ball went far enough for Casey to make second with a double.

''It scares you, and Bere and I played a couple of years together and he is such a good guy,'' Casey said. ''You never like to see that happen and obviously it was totally accidental.''

Bere (1-9) dropped to the ground as trainers came out to assist. Casey, obviously concerned, took his helmet off and shook his head. Bere was helped up and walked off the field with a severe bruise to the knee. X-rays were negative, but he won't make his next start on Monday at Florida.

''I can think of better spots to be hit in,'' Bere said. ''It didn't get the kneecap, just the bone on the sides. I've been hit a few times on the thigh, calf and other places, but that one got me pretty good.''

Cincinnati's Barry Larkin left in the fifth after getting muscle spasms in the right side of his neck and upper shoulder. Reds manager Bob Boone said that Larkin will take Thursday off and is day to day.

Todd Hundley and Fred McGriff homered for the Cubs. McGriff's solo shot in the ninth inning tied him for 24th place on the career list with Griffey and Jose Canseco with 462.

Danny Graves came on with a runner on first and one out and allowed an RBI single to Bill Mueller before getting his 23rd save.

Walker led off the game by hitting Bere's first pitch just inside the right-field foul-pole for his fourth homer. One out later, Dunn hit his 15th homer to make it 2-0.

''Walker got us going with that home run, first pitch of the game and kind of set the tone for us,'' Casey said.

Haynes got an RBI on a safety-squeeze bunt in the second, and after two Cubs throwing errors, Walker hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.

Mueller and Mark Bellhorn had consecutive RBI singles for the Cubs in their half of the second.

Encarnacion's homer made it 5-2 with one out in the third, and Bere lasted only one more batter. Bere allowed five runs -- three earned -- and five hits in 2 1-3 innings to lose his eighth straight decision.

Casey hit his second homer in two days -- a two-run shot -- in the fifth off Juan Cruz.

Later in the inning, Larkin hit an RBI grounder to score Austin Kearns -- who had tripled -- to make it 8-2.


The Reds tied a season high with the four homers. … Larkin made a tremendous play in the fourth. With two outs and runners on second and third, pinch-hitter Angel Echevarria grounded a ball deep in the hole at shortstop, which Larkin backhanded and quickly threw -- with precision -- to first, getting him by a quarter-step. … Bere has not won in 13 starts since April 12. … Kevin Tapani lost nine decisions in a row last season. The Associated Press