CINCINNATI (AP) -- Not even four Cubs homers were enough for
Kerry Wood in a city where he's never lost.
Adam Dunn hit two solo homers off Wood, and the Cincinnati Reds
rallied for an improbable 7-6 victory Monday night against a
pitcher who is almost always at his best when Chicago comes to
town."It's definitely not fun being down 4-0 to a guy like him, but
when we got back to the dugout, it was exactly like it always is,"
Dunn said. "We know we can score runs."Derrek Lee hit the longest of the Cubs' four homers, a shot that
bounced off the batter's eye and out of the ballpark, as Chicago
went up 5-1 after three innings. In the past, that would have been
a sure thing for Wood, who is 10-0 in 12 career starts in
Cincinnati.Not this time.Wood was hampered in spring training by a sore shoulder and
isn't yet back in form. He got a little closer on Monday, but
remained winless in three starts with a 6.38 earned run average."I'm pleased with way I threw the ball, obviously not pleased
with the results," said Wood, who gave up eight hits in six
innings. "I thought I had decent command, and my slider was better
than it has been this year. Overall, it was probably the best I've
thrown. Unfortunately it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to."Rich Aurilia's broken-bat, two-run single off Wood tied it in
the sixth and left him with no-decision. An overworked bullpen then
let it slip away.Jon Leicester (0-2) walked the first two batters in the eighth
and hit Wily Mo Pena, loading the bases. After Aurilia grounded
into a third-to-home double play that kept it tied, Jason LaRue
doubled to the wall in center for a 7-5 lead.Kent Mercker (1-0) pitched two innings for the win. Danny Graves
gave up a run-scoring single in the ninth to Neifi Perez, but
retired Jeromy Burnitz on a grounder with runners on
first-and-third to finish off his fifth save."That's such a tough one to lose," said Cubs reliever Glendon
Rusch, who was limited to one inning because of a strained groin.
"Sometimes it's a cumulative bad day. Today is one of them."The Cubs hit four homers in the first three innings off
shellshocked starter Matt Belisle, who was muttering to himself on
the mound as he jerked his head and watched one ball after another
clear the walls.Corey Patterson, Aramis Ramirez and Burnitz also homered off
Belisle, who moved into the rotation because Ramon Ortiz is
disabled by a strained groin.Thousands of Cubs fans in the stands reveled as Belisle gave up
three homers and a double off the wall in a 17-pitch sequence of
the first inning. Patterson started it with a two-out homer to
right, Ramirez then hit one to left, and Burnitz doubled off the
wall in left.Lee then perfectly timed a breaking ball and hit it onto the
roof of the batter's eye in center, a drive that bounced out of the
park and was estimated at 482 feet. Albert Pujols is the only other
batter to bounce one off the top of the batter's eye in the park's
three seasons."I had a very tough time making adjustments," Belisle said.
"On my breaking balls, I was just casting them instead of throwing
them like I had been."Burnitz completed the homer splurge with a solo shot in the
third, making it 5-1.Dunn is the only player to hit one out of the ballpark on the
fly, a 535-foot homer over the eye last August that bounced on the
street and came to rest on driftwood in the Ohio River. He started
the Reds' comeback by leading off the second and fourth innings
with homers on the first strikes he got -- fastballs, both times.
They were his first homers since he hit two on opening day."Usually when you face him, you get one good pitch to hit,"
said Dunn, who has four homers off Wood in 29 career at-bats. "It
might be the first one or the last one, so you've got to be ready
SS Nomar Garciaparra, hitting .182, was out of the Cubs
lineup but got into the game in the eighth. ... Wood moved ahead of
Bill Hutchison into fourth on the Cubs' strikeout list with 1,228.
... Rusch pitched a perfect seventh, but pulled groin muscles on
one pitch and couldn't go another inning. ... It was Dunn's 11th
multihomer game ... Ken Griffey Jr. has gone 39 at-bats without a
homer this season. In 1991, he didn't homer until his 45th at-bat,
his longest season-opening drought.