Sean Marshall(notes) (3-5) walked Bruce to lead off the 11th. Bruce went to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Gonzalez’s sacrifice. After an intentional walk to Ryan Hanigan(notes), pinch-hitter Adam Rosales(notes) hit a chopper to Fontenot. His throw to catcher Geovany Soto(notes) was high, allowing Bruce to score the winning run on the RBI fielder’s choice.
“I’d have liked to have made that play,” Fontenot said. “(Bruce) was between me and Geo. I’m kind of short. I was real close to the line. I don’t know if I had enough time to step away from it. I had to get it over his head.”
It originally was ruled an error before being changed by the official scorer.
“It doesn’t matter,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We won the game. That was a good game to watch, a good game to manage and a good game to win.”
“Fontenot had a rough night over there,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “Since Ramirez went down, that’s been a big problem for us—a big problem.”
Matt Maloney(notes), making his major league debut before a raucous sellout crowd of 40,194, pitched six solid innings for Cincinnati and singled in his first plate appearance. He started the seventh inning but was lifted when Soto led off with a towering home run off the left-field pole to cut Cincinnati’s lead to 3-2.
“I didn’t feel nervous at all,” Maloney said. “I just went out there and tried to do what I had been doing.”
Maloney allowed six hits and two runs with one walk and four strikeouts. He also hit a batter, but was in line for the win until the eighth when the Cubs got back-to-back, one-out singles from Ryan Theriot(notes) and Derrek Lee(notes) and a tying sacrifice fly by Jake Fox(notes) against reliever David Weathers(notes).
“I don’t know if it was surprising or not,” Baker said of Maloney’s performance. “I only saw him a couple of times in spring training, so it was hard to make an assessment.”
Chicago’s comeback let Dempster off the hook for a loss he wouldn’t have deserved. Dempster didn’t allow an earned run, giving up six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
The Reds’ defense helped Maloney shake off early jitters. Center fielder Chris Dickerson(notes), who made two diving catches in the late innings of Friday’s game, followed with another on Lee’s sinking liner to short left-center field with two on and no out in the first inning.
Dickerson threw out Reed Johnson(notes) trying to advance from second to third on Soto’s flyball to center in the fourth inning. Dickerson celebrated that out with a fist pump, and it loomed larger when Bobby Scales(notes) followed with his third home run of the season.
“Dickerson was excellent out there,” Baker said. “That was a big-time throw to third base. You know how I like that defense.”
The Reds took advantage of Fontenot’s throwing error to score three runs in the first. Jerry Hairston reached on the error and scored all the way from first on Dickerson’s double to left-center field, sliding wide headfirst and brushing his hand across the plate to just beat the relay.
Two outs later, Ramon Hernandez(notes) hit an 0-1 pitch to the opposite field and off the roof of the visitors’ bullpen down the right-field line for his fourth home run of the season. ^Notes: Soto’s homer was his second of the season and the first for the reigning Rookie of the Year since May 13. … C Wilkin Castillo(notes) was optioned to Louisville to make room on Cincinnati’s roster for Maloney. … Chicago RHP Rich Harden(notes), on the disabled list since May 18 with a mid-back strain, will pitch Sunday for Triple-A Iowa and could start for the Cubs next Friday or Saturday against Minnesota, Piniella said. … Maloney became the first Reds pitcher to get a hit in his first plate appearance since Scott Randall on Sept. 18, 2003, against Kip Wells(notes) at Pittsburgh. … Fox’s start for the Cubs was his first in six games since being recalled on May 27.