Reds lose as Cordero can’t hold lead

Published 11:26 pm Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Associated Press

CHICAGO — Bronson Arroyo cruised into the eighth inning and Drew Stubbs’ tiebreaking single put the Cincinnati Reds in position for another nice win.

Then Francisco Cordero entered the game.

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Cordero allowed two runs in the ninth inning as the Reds lost 3-2 to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, ending a three-game winning streak.

“That’s a tough one to lose right there,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We played a good game up until that ninth.”

Carlos Pena kicked off the rally with his third homer in four games, tying it at 2, and Kosuke Fukudome ended the game with a two-out RBI single into center field.

Cordero (2-1) allowed four hits in his first blown save in six opportunities this season. He blew eight chances last year, when the Reds won the NL Central.

“Just one of those days,” Cordero said. “They got the best of me today. We got them yesterday, they got me today. Just gotta put those days behind and look forward to tomorrow.”

Pinch-hitter Jeff Baker set up the winning hit with a rare ground-rule double at Wrigley Field. Baker’s drive to center got up in the wind and Stubbs struggled to get a read on it. The ball bounced over the fence, sending Blake DeWitt back to third and halting a premature celebration.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ball bounce out of Wrigley like that,” Baker said, noting the cozy park’s home run basket hangs at an angle, limiting the chances of ground-rule doubles.

Arroyo allowed one run and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings. His only blemish came in the fourth, when DeWitt homered to right.

“It was nice to get deep into the game and not have to give the bullpen nine outs to eat up,” Arroyo said. “But we fell short, that’s the way it goes.”

Arroyo’s outing was the longest for any Cincinnati pitcher this season, but injuries have dismantled Baker’s starting rotation.

The Reds gained an important piece back Thursday when Homer Bailey allowed one run over six innings to beat the Houston Astros in his season debut.

Johnny Cueto will make his season debut Sunday against the Cubs in the series finale, adding depth to the rotation.

“We hope we kind of catch a groove right away and feel like we have the ballclub we thought we were going to have for the rest of the year,” Arroyo said. “It’s going to be a nice little test for Johnny.”

Cincinnati scored both of its runs in the seventh. Chris Heisey drew a leadoff walk and move to third on Ryan Hanigan’s single. Fred Lewis reached on a run-scoring fielder’s choice off Kerry Wood, then advanced on Arroyo’s sacrifice and scored on Stubbs’ hit.

NOTES: Chicago SS Starlin Castro and OF Alfonso Soriano got the day off. Castro is 0 for 8 with three strikeouts against Arroyo for his career, while Soriano is batting .186 with 13 strikeouts against in 43 career at-bats against the Reds’ pitcher. … Cueto, who won a career-high 12 games for the Reds in 2010, missed the first month of the season with irritation in his right biceps and triceps. He went 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA in four rehab appearances … INF Paul Janish was held out of the Reds lineup a day after turning his ankle while running the bases. Janish is day to day … 1B Joey Votto led off the sixth with a walk to reach base for the 33rd straight game, one shy of the Reds record to start a season.