Reds' offense thrust behind needed victory


CHICAGO (AP) -- Jason LaRue doubled three times and Sean Casey
had three hits as the Cincinnati Reds beat Mark Prior and the
Chicago Cubs 11-3 Monday night.

Jose Guillen hit a two-run homer, while Casey and Felipe Lopez
each drove in two runs. It was an encouraging victory for the Reds,
who placed All-Star shortstop Barry Larkin on the 15-day disabled
list with a strained left calf earlier in the day.

Jimmy Anderson (1-1) went five-plus innings for the win, and
Brandon Larson scored three times.

Prior, who shut out the Montreal Expos in his last start, came
in with a 0.60 ERA. But the Reds got to him in the second inning.

The right-hander walked Adam Dunn before LaRue doubled, snapping
an 0-for-11 slump. Dunn scored on Prior's wild pitch, and Reggie
Taylor put down a sacrifice bunt to score LaRue, giving Cincinnati
a 2-0 lead.

LaRue led off the fifth with his second double of the game. One
out later, Larson reached safely on a throwing error by Prior. A
two-run single by Felipe Lopez made it 4-1.

LaRue doubled for the third time off Prior in the sixth, scoring
Casey to give the Reds a 5-1 lead.

Prior (2-1) pitched six innings and gave up five runs, three
earned, and two walks. He struck out six.

John Riedling allowed one hit in three innings for his first

Anderson got into trouble in the sixth inning -- he gave up four
consecutive hits before being pulled. He gave up a lead off double
to Sammy Sosa. Moises Alou drove in Sosa on an RBI single, Eric
Karros followed with a single and Mark Bellhorn drove in Alou on a
double to right, cutting the Reds lead to 5-3.

Anderson allowed 10 hits and three runs and got help from the
Reds bullpen.

Kent Mercker relieved Anderson and struck out Corey Patterson,
the only batter he faced. Scott Sullivan struck out Damian Miller
and intentionally walked pinch-hitter Troy O'Leary to load the
bases. Sullivan got out of it by getting Mark Grudzielanek to hit
into a fielder's choice.

The Reds benefited from Chicago's sloppy defense in the seventh.
Larson scored from second on pitcher Juan Cruz's throwing error
after fielding a bunt from Lopez. One out later, Casey drove in
Lopez and Guillen to give the Reds an 8-3 lead.

Mike Remlinger came in to relieve Cruz and gave up an RBI single
to Dunn to make it 9-3.

Guillen homered in the eighth off Dave Veres to make it 11-3.

Game notes
LF Dunn made a diving catch of Patterson's line drive in
the second inning to double up Karros. ... Gametime temperature was
79 degrees, compared to 32 degrees for Opening Day last Tuesday.
... The Reds came in with a .217 batting average (worst in the NL)
through their first 12 games.