<
>

McGriff earns 1,500th RBI with two-run homer

9/13/2002

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Fred McGriff is finishing with a flourish.

McGriff got his 1,500th career RBI with a two-run homer, and
Moises Alou hit a three-run shot as the Chicago Cubs beat the
Cincinnati Reds 7-6 Friday night.

McGriff and Alou got off to slow starts, setting up the Cubs'
poor season. McGriff had only one homer in his first 90 at-bats -- a
huge disappointment for a consistent run producer.

His homer off Jimmy Haynes gave McGriff 100 RBI for the eighth
time in his career and made him the 40th player to drive in 1,500.

"To have 100 RBI is special,'' McGriff said. "I had a slow
start the first month -- 10 RBI. To come back after that is a great
personal accomplishment. I hung in there.''

Kerry Wood (11-9) started slowly but revved up his fastball as
the game went along. The right-hander gave up seven hits and six
runs in seven innings, fanning eight.

A day after they stranded 15 runners in a 15-12 loss, the Cubs
made the most of their opportunities against Haynes, who gave up
six runs in six innings.

They broke a tie against Chris Reitsma (6-11) in the seventh,
when Jason LaRue's 20th passed ball of the season allowed Bobby
Hill to score from third. Baltimore is the only team in the majors
with more passed balls than LaRue.

Joe Borowski pitched a perfect eighth, and Antonio Alfonseca
worked the ninth for his 19th save in 25 chances.

The Cubs fell behind 4-0 before they got rolling in the fourth.
Sammy Sosa singled, McGriff walked and Haynes went to a 2-0 count
on Alou. Pitching coach Don Gullett visited the mound, and Alou hit
the next pitch for his 15th homer.

Corey Patterson singled with two outs in the fifth and came
around when center fielder Reggie Taylor let Sosa's single get past
him for an error. McGriff then hit his 29th homer for a 6-4 lead.

"A lot of bad pitches,'' Haynes said, summing up the two
innings. "After I walked McGriff, I got behind Alou and tried to
come inside, but it ran back out over the middle of the plate and
he hit the three-run homer.

"Then, in the fifth, I tried to come inside to McGriff, and
that ran back over the middle.''

McGriff had the home run ball nestled on the shelf in his
locker, a memento of his 1,500th RBI.

"When I quit playing, I'll look back on it then,'' McGriff
said. "I just want to keep going.''

McGriff has driven in 101 runs this season, two more than Sosa.
The Cubs haven't had two players with 100 RBI in a season since
1991, when Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg reached the mark.

Woods struggled at the outset as the Reds pulled ahead by four,
then got his fastball up to the 95 mph range and settled in.

Todd Walker hit a two-run homer in the first, extending his
hitting streak to 10 games. The second baseman is 21-for-38 (.553)
with two homers during that stretch.

Aaron Boone's triple drove in two more runs in the third, and
Taylor hit a two-out, two-run homer that tied it at 6 in the sixth
and left Wood angry with himself.

"I was just all over the place,'' he said. "My slider was
nonexistent. My fastball I wasn't able to spot consistently. You're
not going to win many games like that.''

Hill and Patterson opened the seventh with singles off Reitsma,
Sosa grounded into a double play, and Hill scored from third on the
passed ball.

Hill made a headfirst dive and touched the plate with his left
hand just before Reitsma arrived to take the throw from LaRue.
Reitsma accidentally stepped on Hill's hand, forcing Hill from the
game with a bruise and cuts on two swollen fingers.

"The only way was to slide headfirst and try to stretch my arm
in there,'' he said. "It was all instinct.''

Game notes
Cubs RHP Matt Clement plans to start Saturday. Clement
missed his last scheduled start because of a sore back, but threw
without a problem during a workout Thursday. ... The Cubs lead the
majors in strikeouts on the mound and at the plate. ... LaRue
extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. ... Reds
owner Carl Lindner was 350th on Forbes magazine's ranking of the
wealthiest Americans, with a net worth estimated at $675 million.
Last year, Lindner was 381st on the list, with a net worth of $650
million. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner didn't make the list