Hairston homers before Cubs and Reds rained out

GARY SCHATZ (Associated Press)
The Associated Press

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Scott Hairston homered for the Chicago Cubs before their game against a split squad of Cincinnati Reds was rained out in the second inning with the score 1-all Friday night.

Hairston homered in the first off Tony Cingrani. Neftali Soto put the Reds ahead with a sacrifice fly.

The game was stopped after a 33-minute rain delay.

After Hairston homered, Alfonso Soriano doubled and Luis Valbuena walked but Cingrani got Dioner Navarro to pop up.

Nick Struck, the Cubs' minor league pitcher of the year, started and walked Shin-Soo Choo. Emmanuel Burris, filling in for Brandon Phillips, singled and Jay Bruce loaded the bases with a single. Soto, who has played first base in the absence of Joey Votto, hit a sacrifice fly to it.

Phillips and Votto are playing in the World Baseball Classic.

Cingrani, the Reds' minor league pitcher of the year, struck out two in the second before the rain.

Soto has impressed manager Dusty Baker this spring.

''I had lunch with Orlando Cepeda yesterday,'' Baker said. ''I told him that Soto reminded me of him because he can take the ball to right field. He gets in trouble when he tries to pull the ball. He can hit the ball to right field with power. I can always teach someone to pull. It is harder to teach them to go the other way.''

NOTES: Choo missed several games with a sore right quadriceps but played in the wet conditions. ... The Cubs had homered in their previous six games. ... The Reds sent Bronson Arroyo to face the Dodgers in a road game, which also was rained out. Baker was concerned the inclement weather would upset the pitching rotation. ''We need to get Bronson ready,'' Baker said. ''It is important for Cingrani, too, but not as important as Bronson. We don't want to back up Homer (Bailey) or Johnny (Cueto).

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