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Updated: Friday, September 12, 2003 9:44 PM EDT
Cincinnati Reds
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
6 12 0
Chicago Cubs
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
7 13 1
W Alfonseca (2-1)
L Randall (2-2)
S Borowski (27)
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CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Pinch hitter Tom Goodwin delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Chicago Cubs overcame another meltdown by the bullpen for a 7-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds .

Goodwin's bases-loaded hit came after Mark Guthrie and Antonio Alfonseca squandered a 5-1 lead by giving up five runs in the top of the inning.

The Cubs snapped a two-game losing streak and pulled within one-half game of first-place Houston in the National League Central Division. The Astros begin a three-game series at home against St. Louis on Friday night.

"I use all my guys every day," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He (Goodwin) might be an extra man but he got a start yesterday. Pinch-hitting today for him was just like getting another start, only one at-bat."

Chicago experienced more anxiety in the ninth as Joe Borowski allowed two runners to reach before recording his 27th save.

On Wednesday, Chicago's bullpen surrendered five runs in an 8-4 loss to the Montreal Expos .

Following a 49-minute rain delay, Cincinnati's Scott Randall (2-2) got the first two outs in the seventh but walked Randall Simon and gave up singles to Aramis Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez to load the bases.

Goodwin, batting for Paul Bako , greeted John Riedling by lining a 1-2 pitch up the middle off the glove of second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez.

"With two strikes, I choke up a little more on the bat," Goodwin said. "I don't know the pitcher very well, so I'm just looking location. I know with my speed, if I get a ground ball, we have chance to get everyone safe and get a run in."

Goodwin's hit made a winner of Alfonseca (2-1), who allowed two runs and two hits in one inning in his first appearance since serving a five-game suspension for bumping umpire Justin Klemm.

"The walk really hurt us there, no question about that," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "D'Angelo just missed getting the Goodwin hit by an inch or two. That's the old cliche - game of inches."

"The wet field didn't help any either," Jimenez added. "It was hard to get any footing and I always knew that Goodwin can really run."

The Cubs appeared to be cruising after taking a 5-0 lead when Kerry Wood scored on Brian Reith 's wild pitch in the fourth.

Wood allowed only one run and five hits but struggled with his control and left after throwing 113 pitches in six innings. He walked four and struck out nine.

"Realistically, I didn't pitch a good ballgame today," said Wood, who only allowed an RBI single to Russell Branyan in the fifth. "When the starter only goes six this time of year, it's a huge strain on the bullpen. I kept us in the game but I didn't do my job."

Guthrie failed to retire the three batters he faced and left after an RBI single to Branyon. Alfonseca surrendered two-run doubles to Ruben Mateo and rookie Dernell Stinson.

Mike Remlinger tossed a scoreless eighth before turning things over to Borowski.

The Cubs grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on Moises Alou 's sacrifice fly, then made it 3-0 in the second on Kenny Lofton 's RBI double and Mark Grudzielanek 's RBI single.

Chicago took a 4-0 lead in the third when Ramirez scored on Alou's groundout.

Cincinnati starter Seth Etherton surrendered four runs and seven hits in just two innings.

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