Cubs 5, Reds 1

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CINCINNATI (AP)—With a little help from an umpire, the Chicago Cubs won for the sixth time in seven games.

Neifi Perez opened the ninth inning by reaching first base on a disputed call, and Moises Alou hit a tiebreaking two-run double that sent the Cubs to a 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

“We know what’s at stake,” Alou said. “That was a big win for us.”

Chicago, which remained a half-game behind San Francisco in the wild-card race, trailed 1-0 before pinch-hitter Ben Grieve’s sacrifice fly off Paul Wilson in the eighth.

Perez opened the ninth against Danny Graves (1-6) with a bunt and reached when first-base umpire Jim Reynolds ruled that third baseman Ryan Freel’s throw pulled first baseman Sean Casey off the bag for an error. Replays indicated Casey stayed on the bag, but he tried a swipe tag on Perez, anyway.

“I don’t know if he was on the bag or not, but he never touched me,” Perez said. “That’s why (Reynolds) called me safe.”

Reds manager Dave Miley was ejected for the third time this season when he threw his cap to the ground while arguing the call with Reynolds.

“Bad call,” Miley said. “I didn’t need a replay. I saw the replay, but I didn’t need one. That was a huge call in the game. That was a big out in the game. The first out of any inning is a big one.”

Aramis Ramirez then singled, and Alou doubled up the left-center field gap for a 3-1 lead. Sammy Sosa was walked intentionally, and Michael Barrett hit a two-run double for his third straight hit.

“The umpire has the final say,” Graves said. “If he says he’s safe, he’s safe. You can’t let that affect you. I couldn’t get the ball down at all. Every sinker I threw was up, and against a team like that, with a lineup that never ends, you can’t afford to get the ball up.”

Jon Leicester (5-0) pitched a perfect eighth, and LaTroy Hawkins finished.

Glendon Rusch, starting because Matt Clement was pushed back to the second game of Monday’s doubleheader at Florida, faced one batter over the minimum through six innings.

“He was a factor, because he gave us a chance to win,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

“He made some great pitchers,” said Barrett, the Chicago catcher. “He was hitting his spots.”

Wilson allowed five hits in eight innings, struck out six—including leadoff batter Corey Patterson four times—and walked none. He is 0-4 in 10 starts since beating Milwaukee on July 8, twice leaving games with leads that were blown by his bullpen.

“That was the best game I’ve seen him pitch ever, including college, when he was dominating everybody,” Graves said. “He definitely deserved a better fate than that.”

Neither team got a runner past second base through the first six innings. Cincinnati went ahead in the seventh when Felipe Lopez doubled and Adam Dunn hit an RBI single that stopped an 0-for-14 slump.

“It seemed like both teams were a little asleep,” Baker said. “It was really bright out there and tough to see. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but that’s what it seemed like to me.”


Chicago’s Derrek Lee extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single to lead off the fifth inning. His career-best is 12 games, which he’s reached three times, most recently in 2002. … Reds C Javier Valentin turned 29 on Sunday. … The crowd of 41,649 gave the Reds 11 sellouts this season. … The Reds and Cubs have combined for six ejections in 13 games this season. … The Reds have lost six consecutive homestands since sweeping Texas in a three-game series June 15-17. … Austin Kearns has two hits in his last 17 at-bats. Lopez has four in his last 28.

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