Stubbs' three homers lead Reds' rout

Stubbs' three homers lead Reds' rout

CHICAGO -- On the Fourth of July, fans at Wrigley Field did not have to wait until nightfall to look skyward for objects taking flight.

That's because the wind was blowing out, which usually means home runs -- lots of them. Of the nine long balls launched during the afternoon, seven of them came from Reds bats during Sunday's 14-3 pounding of the Cubs. The onslaught included an eight-run seventh inning, which all came with two outs.

Reds manager Dusty Baker did not have his hitters licking their chops about the direction of the notorious outward wind while facing a fly-ball pitcher like Cubs starter Ted Lilly.

"You try to stay away from that," Baker said. "You don't want them trying to start lifting the ball. That's one of the perils of this ballpark. Even when I played here, you see the wind blowing in, you get psyched out. If you see the wind blowing out, you get psyched and try to do things. We reminded these guys to try to get the fat part of the bat on the ball and let the elements take care of everything else."

Ironically, the only starting position player to not reach base on the day was Joey Votto, whose Major League-leading streak of reaching safely ended at 41 games. Votto was ejected for arguing a called strike three with home-plate umpire Angel Campos in the top of the first. Catcher Ramon Hernandez also came out after the fifth inning with a sore knee that came after hitting a two-run triple in the third.

Fortunately, Votto's power and production would not be needed. Not when Drew Stubbs rebounded from a Saturday benching and recent struggles to hit a career-best three home runs with five RBIs. Not when Paul Janish, who took Votto's spot in the batting order, went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored including a two-run homer.

"In the middle of the year, you kind of get frustrated. I couldn't keep my temper in check," Votto said. "I deserved to get thrown out of that game. But on the flip side, our replacement did pretty good."

It was a Cubs player that provided the first long ball of the day when Tyler Colvin took Reds starter Mike Leake deep for two runs in the bottom of the second and a 2-0 deficit. Colvin later hit a second homer in the sixth. Other than that, it was all Reds.

"They hit seven home runs. You would think we could get a few balls up in the air and let them ride out of here," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "The only guy who did was Colvin. He hit both of them well."

Stubbs cut the lead in half in the top of the third inning with a solo homer beyond the left-field bleachers and onto Waveland Avenue off of Lilly.

"You could tell in BP it would be a good day for the hitters," Stubbs said. "With the wind blowing out the way it was, all you're looking to do was get pitches up and try to drive the ball."

In the sixth, after Orlando Cabrera's leadoff single, Janish hit an 0-1 Lilly pitch into the left-field bleachers for a two-run homer.

"We should call him the 'Minuteman.' He had about one minute to get loose after Joey got ejected," Baker said of Janish, who played third base when Miguel Cairo moved over to play first base.

The most significant power display had yet to come, but did it ever.

After two quick outs to start the seventh for Lilly, the Reds went into hyper drive as they came into the inning leading, 5-3 and left it leading by 10 runs. Phillips, Jonny Gomes and Hernandez's replacement -- Corky Miller -- all went deep. The fourth homer of the inning came from Stubbs, who hit a three-run blast. Stubbs' third homer of the day came in the ninth when he put another one onto Waveland.

"I've never done it at any level -- Little League, high school, college," Stubbs said. "I think I've only got a handful of two-homer games. Three is something special."

Leake was the beneficiary of the power burst as he allowed three runs and eight hits over six innings with one walk and five strikeouts. It made the rookie 6-1 but it was his first win since June 5, a span of four starts. In those games, he was 0-1 with a 6.85 ERA.

Taking three of four from the Cubs was a great start to an 11-game road trip that moves on to New York and then Philadelphia. This was definitely one of the wackier series the Reds have played this season, however.

On Thursday in a 10-inning game, Cincinnati notched 16 hits but only scored three runs for a win. For Friday's 12-0 victory, it was 1-0 when they scored nine runs in the seventh inning alone, while needing only three hits and getting six walks. On Saturday, the Cubs left 17 men on base and still beat the Reds by a 3-1 score.

The first-place Reds could only pick up one game on the second-place Cardinals over the last four days, however. St. Louis won its game over the Brewers on Sunday to remain 1 1/2 games behind in the National League Central standings.

"To start this road trip 3-1, now we have to go to tough New York and hopefully we can duplicate that there in a much bigger ballpark," Baker said. "Four [games] down and seven to go."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.