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Cubs can't convert rally in 9th inning
After ripping Cubs fans last month, Reds announcer Marty Brennaman proved he's an equal-opportunity offender, proclaiming during a loss to Atlanta on Sunday that Cincinnati "may never win another game."
But the Reds proved him wrong Monday night with a 5-3 win over the Cubs before 20,889 at Great American Ball Park, scoring five unearned runs off Ryan Dempster.
"Like I told my guys after the ballgame, 'Look, make the other team beat you. Just don't give it to them,' " Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
"And I know they're not trying, but at the same time, if you play like that, you're going to lose quite a few of them, or most of 'em. Anyway, it's over with. Done."
The Cubs aren't done, but they have lost eight of their last 11 games after winning 14 of 17. They're 6-0 against Pittsburgh and 12-14 against the rest of the National League. On the bright side, the Cubs play the Pirates six more times this month.
In a raucous affair in which hitting coach Gerald Perry was ejected for yelling at plate umpire Tim Welke, Piniella was seen barking at a fan on his way back to the dugout after conferring with Welke, and center fielder Felix Pie robbed Ken Griffey Jr. of his 598th career home run with a leaping catch, the Reds capitalized on two Cubs errors to score all their runs.
Still the Cubs trailed by only two in the ninth before loading the bases with one out against closer Francisco Cordero. But Mike Fontenot was called out by Welke while attempting to score after a pitch to Ryan Theriot bounced a few feet away from catcher Paul Bako.
"I thought it went further than it did," Fontenot said. "It ended up being a bad decision on my part, especially with the bases loaded and one out."
Theriot walked to reload the bases, but Derrek Lee grounded to first to end it. It was the second straight night Lee failed to come through in a late-inning situation with men on base and the game on the line.
"It's frustrating," Lee said. "I've had two chances to give us wins, and I didn't get it done. So put these last two on me.
"With [ Aramis Ramirez] out, I've got to swing the bat better."
Piniella wasn't too pleased by Fontenot's gamble, especially with Theriot and Lee coming up and the Cubs still needing two runs to tie the game.
"It's aggressive, but not in a two-run game," Piniella said. "You almost have to be assured that you can fall down and still score before you go. If it's a one-run game? Different story. But, it happened. What can you do? And then we got sloppy with the glove."
Fontenot's error on a potential double-play grounder ignited a three-run first off Dempster (4-1), and Mark DeRosa's two-out error in the third preceded a two-run homer by Adam Dunn. The 463-foot bomb by Dunn was so deep into the right-field bleachers, Dempster didn't even bother to turn around.
"It really came down to one pitch that cost the game," Dempster said. " If I don't execute pitches against a guy like [Dunn], he has the ability to hit it way, way out of the ballpark, like he did."