Reds offense batters, bruises Bere

The ball came screaming off the bat of Cincinnati's Sean Casey and Cubs pitcher Jason Bere had nowhere to hide.

The veteran right-hander dropped to the ground as if he had been hit with a right cross.

"I can think of better places to get hit, but at least it hit just on the [leg] bone and it didn't hit any of the kneecap or anything," Bere said after the Reds' 8-6 victory Wednesday in front of 32,689 at Wrigley Field.

Bere was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for X-rays on his right knee, which turned up negative.

"He's OK. It's not a fracture. It's a deep bone bruise," manager Don Baylor said of the third-inning liner that resulted in a double for Casey. "He is scheduled to start Monday, but I doubt that very seriously."

Baylor said he likely will turn to relievers Juan Cruz or Carlos Zambrano to fill Bere's spot in the starting rotation.

"It might be one or the other, but I know it's not going to be Jason," Baylor said.

Bere (1-9), who is winless in his last 13 starts, gave up a home run to Todd Walker on the first pitch of the game.

Adam Dunn, Juan Encarnacion and Casey also homered for the Reds, who are 33-23 with injured star Ken Griffey Jr. out of the starting lineup.

The Cubs left 11 runners on base, making it 23 stranded in the last two games.

"From the beginning defensively, we just didn't get the things done," said Baylor, whose team committed two errors. "We kept coming back … a little too late. But we never gave up."

The Reds led 5-2 when Casey's liner added injury to insult for Bere.

"I never saw it hit him, that's how hard it was hit," catcher Todd Hundley said. "I was hoping it got him off the thigh."

Jimmy Haynes (8-6) earned the victory, allowing three runs and nine hits in six innings. He struck out five Cubs before John Riedling and Jose Silva provided relief.

Closer Danny Graves was summoned to subdue the Cubs' two-run, ninth-inning uprising to earn his 23rd save.

Fred McGriff's ninth-inning homer off Silva was his 14th of the year. But the Reds took greater advantage of the 15 m.p.h. breeze that was blowing out Wednesday.

"[Haynes'] whole gig is the backdoor curveball and he didn't make any mistakes with his fastball," said Hundley, who was 2-for-4 including his seventh home run in the sixth inning. "He just got tired toward the end."

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