Stubbs belts three HRs as Reds power past Cubs, 14-3
CHICAGO — Drew Stubbs had an idea of what might happen Sunday when he watched the ball carry over the fence at Wrigley Field during batting practice.
When the game started, Stubbs belted three of the Cincinnati Reds’ season-high seven home runs to lead a 14-3 romp over the Chicago Cubs.
“You could tell in BP it was going to be a good day for hitters,” Stubbs said. “The wind blowing out the way it was, all you’re looking to do is get pitches up and try to be on the ball. Not only myself, but a number of other guys were able to do that today.”
The hot-hitting Reds took advantage of a 20-mph gusts to hit four of the homers during an eight-run seventh inning, all coming after Cubs starter Ted Lilly retired the first two batters.
Brandon Phillips began the barrage with a solo shot to left, and Jonny Gomes chased Lilly (3-7) with a two-run homer. Jeff Stevens came on in relief and surrendered a solo home run to Corky Miller, and after back-to-back walks, Stubbs went deep for the second time in the game.
Stubbs also hit a solo home run in the third inning and another solo shot in the ninth, the first multihomer game for him. He has 11 home runs on the season.
“They were having fun, for sure,” Lilly said. “I think we did our part to help them from a pitching standpoint. On the same token you have to give them credit, they didn’t miss too many pitches left over the plate.”
Mike Leake (6-1) picked up the victory for Cincinnati, allowing three runs in six innings to win for the first time since June 5 against Washington. Three relievers combined to pitch three perfect innings and finish it off.
“He only made one mistake and that was to Tyler Colvin, who’s swinging the bat great,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “After that he settled down and our offense did the rest. We needed that offense because you never feel comfortable in this ballpark with the wind blowing out.”
Colvin drove in all three runs for Chicago, on a two-run homer in the second inning and a home run to center in the sixth.
The seventh inning for the Cubs was nearly as horrific as a nine-run seventh inning on Friday. In both games, the Reds sent 13 batters to the plate, but they only needed three hits to get all that offense Friday afternoon.
“It got ugly towards the end again. It reminds us of the Friday game,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “You would think we could get a few balls up in the air and let them ride out of here but the only guy that did was Colvin.”
The Reds played most of the game without Joey Votto, who was ejected in the first inning for arguing a called third strike.
“Middle of the year, you’re going to get frustrated,” Votto said. “I couldn’t keep my temper in check and I deserved to get thrown out of that game.
“On the flip side, my replacement did pretty good.”
Paul Janish went 4 for 4 with three RBI, including a two-run homer in the sixth inning.
“He had about one minute to get loose after Joey got ejected,” Baker said.
The Reds have had some impressive power surges against the Cubs in the past.
The four home runs in the seventh were the most allowed by Chicago in an inning since May 7, 2008, at Cincinnati. And the seven home runs in the game were the most by the Cubs’ pitching staff since the Reds belted seven of them on July 10, 2008.
Lilly didn’t feel comfortable with any of his pitches.
“Everything,” he said. “It was hanging sliders, change-ups that were left up. Too many balls that were center cut.”
Stevens allowed four runs on three hits and walked three without recording an out.
“Some of the kids just can’t end innings,” said Piniella.
Notes: The Reds took three of four games from the Cubs to win their fourth consecutive series. … Lilly allowed four home runs, Stevens allowed two and Andrew Cashner allowed the other home run by Cincinnati. … Byrd was the lone Cubs player to make the All-Star team. Phillips, Scott Rolen and Arthur Rhodes made it for Cincinnati, while Votto is one of five players in Internet voting for the final NL roster spot.