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Phillips' slam, six RBIs lead Reds' victory

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Brandon Phillips matched and surpassed a Cincinnati Reds legend as his big bat helped the Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2 on Monday night.

But Phillips shrugged off comparisons to Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, even with his 152nd career homer, which tied the ex-Reds second baseman, and six RBIs, which gave him 615 all-time, three better than Morgan among Cincinnati second basemen.

"Joe Morgan is the best second baseman to play this game," Phillips said. "For me to be in the same category as him, it's an honor. I feel like I'm nowhere close to Joe Morgan. I just try to go out there and be the best I can be."

Phillips hit a grand slam for four of six RBIs as the Reds shrugged off foggy conditions in the opener of a four-game series at Wrigley Field.

The slam by the Reds' second baseman -- his 10th homer of the season -- came in the third inning as the Reds jumped on Cubs' left-hander Scott Feldman for five runs over the first three frames.

The victory was a club-record 10th straight at Wrigley Field for the Reds, and their seventh in eight games against the Cubs in 2013.

Visibility ranged from poor to almost non-existent early as fog rolled in from nearby Lake Michigan. Conditions cleared as the game progressed.

Reds right-hander Homer Bailey (4-4) worked eight innings for the win. He allowed four hits, walked two and struck out eight. Bailey threw 120 pitches -- 90 for strikes -- in his first victory since beating the Cubs 5-2 in a six-inning outing on May 25.

It was his second eight-inning effort of the season. Bailey also had a complete game on May 14 -- a 6-2 win over Miami.

"I just wanted to be aggressive and very efficient," said Bailey, who welcomed the opportunity to go deep and give the Reds bullpen a break. "I've been pulled so many times after 80 or 90 pitches, I really felt I could go one or two (innings) more."

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro doubled in one run in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Alfredo Simon.

Feldman (5-5) settled down after the third inning and worked through the sixth inning. He gave up five earned runs on seven hits and struck out two.

"I hung a couple pitches there to start the third, hung a curve ball to Bailey and he was able to get a single," Feldman said. "And from there they got a couple guys on and hung the big one there to Brandon Phillips." The Cubs ended the Reds' shutout bid in the sixth. Luis Valbuena doubled to lead off the inning and scored on Nate Schierholtz's infield single and throwing error by Phillips.

Phillips went 2-for-4, including an eighth-inning fielder's choice that scored Cozart for a 6-1 lead. Cozart and Xavier Paul also had a pair of hits as the Reds won for the second time in three games.

Schierholtz went 2-for-4 for the Cubs, losers of six of their last eight.

Fog in the first inning masked the scoreboard and gave outfielders a ghostly appearance. On the South Side of Chicago, the White Sox game against the Blue Jays was delayed due to fog.

"In my years here I don't think I've ever seen the fog come in like this," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "That was pretty weird."

Despite poor visibility at Wrigley Field, the Reds grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first. Phillips' two-out single to center drove home Cozart, who reached base after hitting into a fielder's choice.

Feldman gave up three straight singles to load the bases with one out in the third, and Phillips launched the 1-1 pitch to left for a homer, giving Cincinnati a 5-0 lead.

"(Feldman) ended up pitching a good game," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "There wasn't a whole lot of hard contact other than Phillips' hard jam shot to right, and he hit the grand slam nice. Other than that, he pitched pretty dang good."

Visibility improved significantly by the fourth inning, but nearby apartment buildings still appeared hazy and lakefront high-rises could not be seen.

"It couldn't get any worse, otherwise you would have had to stop (the game)," Sveum said. "It was borderline as it was."

NOTES: Baker caught a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game on his last visit to Chicago in May and said he hopes to secure tickets to Wednesday's Stanley Cup opener between the host Hawks and the Boston Bruins at the United Center. ... Baker tied Ralph Houk for 16th place on the list of all-time wins by managers with 1,619. ... Cubs LF Alfonso Soriano needs two home runs to tie Albert Belle for 63rd all-time at 381. ... Chicago 1B Anthony Rizzo walked in the first inning, extending his streak of reaching base safely to 14 games, a single-season career high. ... The Reds will send LHP Tony Cingrani (2-0, 3.27 ERA) to the mound Tuesday against Cubs RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 4.03 ERA).
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