CHICAGO (AP) -
's been as good - maybe even better - than the
expected when they acquired him in a trade from Oakland six weeks ago.
Harden allowed two hits in seven innings Tuesday night, striking out 10 and bunting in the go-ahead run for his first major
league RBI as the surging Cubs beat the
''I think maybe a new league, seeing new guys and they haven't seen me that much,'' Harden said after his fourth 10-strikeout
game in seven starts for the Cubs.
''I haven't seen them, also. It's a process,'' he added. ''The more I see them I have to make adjustments and the more they
see me they'll be making adjustments. But I definitely think it makes a difference.''
Harden has made a difference for the Cubs, who already had a strong rotation with
. They thought Harden would give them the extra push toward the playoffs - if they can keep him healthy.
''We just got to watch him, keep him fresh and keep him strong,'' Chicago manager
said. ''This kid is a competitor. He pitches with confidence and he's done a real nice job here, obviously.''
With the victory, the NL Central-leading Cubs (77-48) improved to a season-high 29 games over .500. Chicago has won seven
of eight and 17 of its last 21.
''One thing about our pitching staff for a good while now, they've given us the chance to win games on a continual basis,''
Harden (3-1) won a duel with
(8-12), who gave up four hits over seven innings in the fast-paced game.
Harden, who picked up his first win at Wrigley Field, didn't walk a batter and allowed singles to
in the fourth and
in the sixth. Dickerson was the lone Red to reach scoring position when he stole second with two outs before Harden fanned
''That's the first time that we've seen him,'' Reds manager
said of Harden, who came to the Cubs in a July 8 trade. ''The thing about him is he'll throw 88 (mph), 89, 90 and then when
he gets to two strikes, he can pump it up to 94 or 96.''
pitched a scoreless eighth and
gave up a two-out single to Keppinger in the ninth while completing the three-hitter.
Cueto (8-12) allowed the one run while walking two and striking out six.
''That's as well as he's thrown the ball since early in the year,'' Baker said.
had a leadoff triple in the fifth when his long drive to right-center hit off the glove of a diving
After a walk to
and a strikeout, Harden dropped down a bunt. When third baseman
threw to first for the out, Soto broke for the plate and scored when first baseman
made a low throw that bounded away from catcher
. Harden got an RBI on the play, while Votto was charged with an error for allowing Fukudome to advance.
''I was looking behind my shoulder and he was freezing. That's why I went to first. It was a tough play,'' Encarnacion said.
Piniella lauded Soto's ''heads-up'' baseball on the play, saying it's not the type of daring baserunning often seen by a catcher.
''I just followed the third baseman down the line and I was pretty far down and whenever he let go of the ball, I thought
it was going to be a cruise,'' Soto said.
''But I'm not that fast, so I just got to go headfirst into home plate. Luckily I scored.''
Chicago added four runs in the eighth off relievers
had an RBI single,
a run-scoring double and Fukudome a two-run, bases-loaded single.
Notes: Reds RHP
, on the 15-day DL with a strained muscle in his back, is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Wednesday, according to Baker.
had his scheduled start pushed back a day from Thursday to Friday after he experienced neck spasms. RHP
will start on Thursday against the Cubs, while Harang will pitch Friday versus Colorado. ... The Cubs are 34-22 against the