CHICAGO (Ticker) -- If the
are playing baseball in October, a key move made in December may be the reason.
doubled twice and drove in four runs and
had three hits and two RBI as the Cubs posted a 9-6 triumph over the
struggled through five-plus innings, four members of Chicago's beleaguered bullpen combined to hold Cincinnati to three hits over the final four frames.
(3-1) worked a hitless seventh for the win.
struck out one in a perfect eighth and
cruised through the ninth for his 28th save in 32 chances.
The win moved Chicago within one-half game of first-place Houston in the National League Central Division.
"We just need to keep winning," Grudzielanek said. "If we take care of ourselves, things will work out for us. I feel we can keep winning series and go from there. We do that and we will be in good shape."
The Cubs likely would not be challenging for a postseason berth had it not been for the contributions of Karros and Grudzielanek, who were acquired from the
Los Angeles Dodgers
on December 3. At the time, they were considered veteran insurance policies, but both have contributed mightily.
Karros had two-run doubles in the second and seventh innings. After hitting .271 in his final year with Los Angeles, he is batting .290 for Chicago.
"He knows how to stay ready," Cubs manager
said. "He's a veteran, he works hard and knows how to stay ready. He wants to win very badly. He hasn't been back to the playoffs in a long time."
"This year has been a special year," Karros said. "We've been winning a lot of exciting games and Dusty provided for a lot of excitement. It has just been an eventful year. That's what has made it real special."
Grudzielanek contributed singles in the first, fifth and seventh, raising his average to .310. He is second on the team in on-base percentage behind
allowed five runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. Rookie
(1-1) gave up three runs in the seventh and was tagged with the loss.
The Reds have dropped three of four, but interim manager Dave Miley appreciates the opportunity presented by playing a team in a pennant race.
"It is more or less a learning experience (for our guys)," Miley said. "You know what (the Cubs) are playing for, so for our guys, they are battling as hard as they can. I'm proud of the way these guys have gone at it. In the long run, it can only help."
The Cubs trailed 6-5 entering the seventh, but
batted for Alfonseca and opened the inning with a double.
sacrificed and Grudzielanek tied the game with a base hit to right-center field. Sosa beat out an infield hit and
took over for Belisle.
walked to load the bases and
made it 7-6 with a single to left. Karros followed with his second double for a three-run cushion.
Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead in the second, but Chicago got to Bale for four runs in the second as Karros delivered a two-run double,
had an RBI two-base hit and a throwing error by third baseman
allowed Gonzalez to score.
The Reds answered in the third on an RBI single by
and drew within a run an inning later when
D'Angelo Jimenez led off the fifth with his seventh homer, knotting the game at 4-4.
Chicago forged ahead in the bottom half as Cruz tripled and scored on Grudzielanek's base hit. But the Reds responded with two runs in the sixth.
Wily Mo Pena
singled and took third on
's base hit. Pinch hitter
struck out, but Olmedo came through with an RBI single. A wild pitch put two runners in scoring position and a single by Hummel gave Cincinnati a 6-5 lead.