Votto, Rolen belt HRs in Reds’win

Published 12:04 am Sunday, March 20, 2011

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — If he was concerned about his rough outing, Carlos Zambrano didn’t act like it.

The volatile Cubs right-hander was tagged for six runs and seven hits over 4 2-3 innings Friday, and Chicago lost to the Cincinnati Reds 14-13 in a slugfest.

But afterward, Zambrano was relaxed when he met with reporters.

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“I felt good out there,” he said. “I worked on what I had to work on. I thought I pitched well. I made a couple of mistakes, and I paid for them.”

Those mistakes were hit out of the ballpark. NL MVP Joey Votto hit a two-run homer and Scott Rolen had a three-run shot for Cincinnati.

“It was good to see Rolen and Votto hit. That was sweet,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It was the first time the (regulars) played this long together (seven innings). We’ll get them some length tomorrow, then back them off some.”

Votto also knocked in the go-ahead run with a single in the sixth inning before a crowd of 13,182, the fourth-largest in HoHoKam Park history.

The Cubs pulled within 14-13 in the ninth on a base hit by Welington Castillo. Darwin Barney walked to load the bases with two outs, but Kosuke Fukudome grounded out on the first pitch, allowing the Reds to escape.

The teams combined for 40 hits, 22 by the Cubs. Starlin Castro hit a three-run homer for Chicago.

Zambrano, penciled in by manager Mike Quade to start the team’s second game of the season April 2 against Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field, tipped his cap to the Reds.

“Give them credit, they’re good,” said Zambrano, who was 11-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 36 games (20 starts) last season. “When we face them during the season, I will figure out how to get them out.”

When Quade went out to remove Zambrano from the game, the two had an animated exchange, but Zambrano was smiling.

“He’s a great guy,” Zambrano said. “We had respect for him before he became the manager and we have more respect now.”

Another veteran pitcher, Carlos Silva, is fighting to earn a spot in the Cubs’ rotation but is having a rough spring.

Silva entered in the sixth Friday and yielded eight runs (five earned) on 11 hits in three innings.

Quade said before the game he was still as looking at Silva as a starter, but the right-hander is 0-2 with a 15.88 ERA in 11 1-3 innings this spring. He has pitched in four games, making three starts.

Meanwhile, Baker liked what he saw from his lineup against the Cubs, the team he managed from 2003-06.

“I told the (security) guard sitting next to me in the second inning, “This looks like a 13-12 game,”’ Baker said. “Then we had that five-run lead and I said, ’I’m nervous.’ Anything can happen in these games, especially in this park.’ But our guys kept battling and we scored just enough.”

NOTES: After a sluggish start to the spring, new Cubs 1B Carlos Pena had three hits to boost his average to .297. … Barney took a big step toward earning a utility role with three hits and a pair of walks. … Reds RHP Johnny Cueto is scheduled to start a split-squad game against Colorado on Saturday after experiencing stiffness in his right biceps and forearm.