Baseball: Reds belt seven homers at Wrigley
By Rick Gano
CHICAGO ó David Ross and the Cincinnati Reds felt right at home with the wind blowing out of Wrigley Field on Thursday.
The Chicago Cubs’ friendly confines was even nicer to a visiting team, for once.
Ross hit two of Cincinnati’s seven homers, a long-ball barrage that included Ken Griffey Jr.’s 605th, and the Reds avoided a sweep with a 12-7 victory.
It was only Chicago’s 11th home loss this season.
“It was a hot and humid day and I’ve seen that ball travel here on these kind of days big time. Anything that was up in the air, you were always nervous,” said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who skippered the Cubs for four years and knows all about wild games at the neighborhood park.
“That was big for the offense to break out like that and keep scoring. In this ballpark you’re never comfortable. I don’t care what the lead is, especially with the offense that they have over there.”
Edwin Encarnacion, Brandon Phillips, Adam Dunn and Joey Votto also homered with the wind blowing out at 12 mph on a muggy day. The Reds tied their season high for homers ó they also had seven against the Cubs at their longball-friendly yard, Great American Ball Park, on May 7.
Backup catcher Ross had one homer all season before hitting solo shots in the fifth off Jon Lieber and seventh off newly acquired Chad Gaudin.
“I had a chance to play today and made the most of it,” Ross said. “I think everybody wants to hit when the wind is blowing out here.”
Griffey hit a three-run drive off reliever Michael Wuertz as Cincinnati scored four times in the fourth to take an 8-3 lead. He also had a run-scoring double and finished with four RBIs
“We were just trying to get base hits. Sometimes you get the ball in the air and it can go out,” Griffey said. “The wind was blowing out.”
Griffey’s 12th homer of the season got him within four of tying Sammy Sosa for fifth on the career list with 609.
The Reds chased Ted Lilly (9-6) after 22/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. The left-hander gave up six hits and four runs before he was removed by manager Lou Piniella.
“An ugly inning,” Lilly said of the third. “I understand why Lou wanted to go in a different direction.”
Mike Fontenot homered for Chicago, which dropped to 35-11 at home.
All-Star outfielder Kosuke Fukudome fouled a ball off his leg in the eighth and was replaced in the field in the ninth. Fukudome said he was OK but being on the field every day could be wearing on the first-year player.
He struck out three times and went 0-for-5 as his average dropped to .282.
“It looks to me like he’s swinging awfully tired,” Piniella said.
Chicago cut it to 8-5 on Fontenot’s two-run drive in the fourth but Ross went deep in the fifth and Dunn’s long drive to right in the sixth cleared the stadium and landed on the other side of Sheffield Ave.
Piniella said he lost track of how many homers the Reds hit. “I know the one Dunn hit counted for two,” he cracked.
Derrek Lee had an RBI double in the first and Ryan Theriot delivered a two-out, two-run single in the second to help the Cubs build a 3-1 lead.