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Updated: Sunday, April 6, 2003 7:54 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
Chicago Cubs
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
4 10 0
Cincinnati Reds
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
5 8 3
W White (1-0)
L Guthrie (0-1)
S Williamson (1)
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CINCINNATI 5, CHICAGO CUBS 4
 

CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Without Ken Griffey Jr. for more than a month, the Cincinnati Reds will need to get production from other sources. On Sunday, Sean Casey stepped up.

Casey had three RBI, including a solo homer that snapped an eighth-inning tie and lifted the Reds to a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs in the rubber game of a three-game series.

After starter Kerry Wood failed to protect a four-run lead, lefthander Mark Guthrie started the eighth by striking out Adam Dunn . Guthrie got righthander Austin Kearns on a comebacker, but Casey launched a 1-2 pitch into the right field bleachers for his second home run the season.

The Reds lost their first three games at Great American Ball Park to the Pittsburgh Piartes before winning this series.

"We were trying to forget the Pittsburgh series and win the Cubs series and that's what we did," Casey said. "You have to capitalize on your chances against a pitcher like Wood."

Casey was limited to 120 games last season due to a torn labrum and rotator cuff and hit just six homers in 425 at-bats.

"It was a good confidence booster, but I hit the ball on the nose yesterday and they didn't fall in. I just try to spray the ball around and I'm able to do that now with my shoulder feeling better."

Cubs manager Dusty Baker refused to put the blame on Guthrie.

"That wasn't the pitch that cost us the game," Baker said. "We had a number of opportunities early to put the game away. We had runners on base all game. We had trouble getting two-out RBI hits."

"To me it's unacceptable," Wood said. "When you have a four-run lead, you can't afford to let a team get back in the game. You have to put you foot on their neck. It seemed like I made good pitches to get to two-strike counts. But with two outs and two strikes, I seemed to leave them out over the plate, whether they were fastballs or sliders."

Wood went seven innings, allowing four runs and seven hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

Guthrie (0-1), who signed a one-year contract in January, limited lefthanded batters to a .187 average and just two home runs in 68 appearances with the New York Mets last season.

Gabe White (1-0) replaced starter Paul Wilson and recorded four outs for the win. Scott Williamson gave up one hit and struck out one in a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Before the game, the Reds announced Griffey is expected to miss six to 10 weeks with a dislocated right shoulder. Reggie Taylor started in center field and struck out in each of his three at-bats.

Mark Grudzielanek led off the game with a double and scored when rookie third baseman Brandon Larson made a bad throw to first after fielding Alex Gonzalez 's bunt. Sammy Sosa and rookie Hee Seop Choi walked around a flyout by Moises Alou and Corey Patterson delivered a two-run single to make it 3-0.

Larson made another throwing error on a ground ball by Lenny Harris to allow Patterson to score before Wilson got out of the inning by retiring Damian Miller on a flyout.

"We spotted them four runs," Reds manager Bob Boone said. "Larson was the candidate for one of the all-time worst games in baseball. He made a great comeback. I thought he had a patch over one eye with some of those curveballs he swung at. He made some nice plays and got some key hits."

Kearns led off the bottom of the second inning and hit Wood's first pitch over the left field fence for his third home run, cutting Chicago's lead to 4-1.

With two outs in the fourth, Kearns singled and Casey followed with a double to the wall in center to make it 4-2. Boone had a one-out triple in the sixth and Wood walked Dunn. After Kearns popped out, Casey and Larson had RBI singles to tie the game.

Wilson, who signed a two-year contract with Cincinnati in January after spending the last three seasons with Tampa Bay, did not pitch an exhibition game after suffering a pulled rib cage muscle and strained hamstring. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run and eight hits with three walks.

"It's my job to pick my teammates up and they picked me up all day," Wilson said. "I rely on my defense. I throw a lot of sinkers and make them hit the ball. I won't strike out a lot of guys."


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