Reds recover to beat Cubs in 13 innings
Published 1:35 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011
CHICAGO (AP) — If this was Mike Leake’s final start of the year, he’ll have plenty of motivation when he reports to camp in February.
Joey Votto hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the 13th inning and the Cincinnati Reds rebounded for a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs after blowing a two-run lead in the ninth Tuesday night.
Leake was closing in on his first career shutout when Starlin Castro reached on a two-out single and pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair drove a 2-0 pitch over the wall in right for Chicago’s third hit of the game and his first homer since Sept. 20, 2008, for the Seattle Mariners.
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Leake bent over on the front of the mound as LaHair rounded the bases with the tying shot, but the Reds eventually recovered for their third win in nine games.
“We all had visions of his first complete-game shutout, and he was one out away from that. That’s why it’s such a deflator.” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It was a great performance. You hate to see him lose it like that. His pitch count was so low, he had plenty left in the tank.”
Leake, the eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft, retired 14 consecutive batters before Darwin Barney reached on catcher’s interference in the seventh. The 23-year-old right-hander then got Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena to fly out to end the inning.
Leake struck out six and walked none in a career-high nine innings. He needed only 65 pitches to get through seven innings and finished with 91 overall.
“It’s the best I’ve thrown since college, really,” he said. “We just went after guys and it’s nice to go out there and only throw 91 pitches over nine innings. You can’t really do much better than that.”
Leake has thrown 159 2-3 innings this season after 138 1-3 last year as a rookie. Prior to Tuesday’s outing, Baker said he wasn’t sure if Leake would make another start this season and he was “getting close” to being shut down.
Leake said he obviously still wants to pitch but understands the circumstances.
“It will give me a little something to remember come spring training next year if I am done,” he said. “Little bad taste in the mouth.”
Dave Sappelt hit a leadoff double against John Grabow (3-1) in the 13th inning and Votto followed with his second run-scoring double of the game. Miguel Cairo added a two-out RBI single to make it 4-2.
Aroldis Chapman (4-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the victory and Francisco Cordero got three outs for his 321st career save, tying Jose Mesa for the most by pitcher from the Dominican Republic. It was his 31st save on the season.
“I have not had the chance to talk to (Mesa). I’m sure I’ll see him when I go down there,” Cordero said. “I’m sure we’re going to talk about it and I can tell you he’s pretty happy with what I accomplished tonight. Another save to become the all-time saves leader in the Dominican Republic. I’m sure when I see him in the Dominican, he’ll say something to me.”
The Reds caught a break in the 12th when leadoff hitter Tony Campana hit a grounder to first and was called out on a close play. Replays indicated Campana beat Votto to the bag.
Campana argued with umpire Tim Welke at first before Cubs manager Mike Quade came out and had an animated argument, then headed back to the dugout.
“It was a big part of the game. I got a little riled up,” Campana said. “Going down I think I have the best view at it. So I knew I beat it.”
Cubs starter Rodrigo Lopez allowed two runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.
The Reds finally got to Lopez in the sixth inning. Sappelt led off with a single and scored from first on Votto’s double to right, ending a season-high 0-for-14 slide for the reigning NL MVP
Votto scored on Devin Mesoraco’s double play ball to give the Reds a 2-0 lead.
LaHair was one of the Cubs’ September callups after a successful season in Triple-A Iowa. He was leading the minors with 38 home runs and was batting .331 with 109 RBIs when he was promoted Friday. It was his fourth career homer in the majors.
NOTES: The Cubs recalled LHP John Gaub, INF DJ LeMahieu and OF Lou Montanez from Triple-A Iowa. … Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster will try to avoid losing his fourth straight start on Wednesday. … Reds RHP Johnny Cueto is Wednesday’s scheduled starter for the Reds. He leads the majors with a 2.29 ERA. … Reds OF Drew Stubbs came in the game as a pinch runner in the ninth.