Cincinnati (66-76) at Chicago (71-72)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Mon Sep 12, 2005
  • TV: CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Greg Maddux will try to help the Chicago Cubs keep their fleeting hopes alive in the NL wild-card race when they begin three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cubs return home for seven straight games after a successful 8-2 road trip gave them some much-needed momentum.

“My hope doesn’t need reinvigorating,” Chicago manager Dusty Baker said. “I had hope regardless.”

Neifi Perez hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth inning against his former team as the Cubs wrapped up an impressive stretch away from Wrigley Field with a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

Matt Murton homered and Todd Walker had an RBI triple in the second for the Cubs, who pulled within 5 1/2 games of the wild card-leading Houston Astros.

“Stranger things have happened,” said Cubs closer Ryan Dempster, who worked the ninth for his 13th straight save and 27th in 29 chances overall. “We’ve got to keep playing hard. I think absolutely we put too much pressure on ourselves (earlier). We’d be four games back and try to make up three games in one.”

Maddux won both his starts on the road trip to improve to 12-11 on the year. The veteran right-hander is still holding out hope of reaching the 15-win plateau for the 18th straight season.

Maddux has only been mediocre against the Reds in his career, going 17-15 with a 3.67 ERA in 45 career starts.

Pinch-hitter Austin Kearns had a tying two-run single and Felipe Lopez delivered the go-ahead hit as the Reds came from behind Sunday to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3.

Jason LaRue homered and Rich Aurilia added an RBI single in a five-run seventh inning for Cincinnati, which has split its last eight games.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Harang Phi vs. G. Maddux LAD
11-13 Record 13-15
3.83 ERA 4.24
163 K 136
51 BB 36
1.27 WHIP 1.22