Series: Game 2 of 4

Chi Cubs leads 2-0 (as of 9/17)

Game 1: Thursday, September 16
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in 10
Game 2: Friday, September 17
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Game 3: Saturday, September 18
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Game 4: Sunday, September 19
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Cubs 12

(81-64, 38-32 away)

Reds 4

(67-80, 38-38 home)

    7:10 PM ET, September 17, 2004

    Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    CHC 000331041 12 13 0
    CIN 000001030 4 10 1

    W: C. Zambrano (14-8)

    L: L. Hudson (3-2)

    Lee drives in five for Cubs

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Chicago feels right at home in Cincinnati, where there always are lots of Cubs' fans and batters find it easy to hit home runs.

    "This ballpark is really good for the type of team we have," Chicago manager Dusty Baker said Friday night after a 12-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds extended the Cubs' winning streak to five.

    On a night after Aramis Ramirez homered three times, three different Cubs had one each. Derrek Lee drove in five runs with a three-run homer and a two-run double, and Ben Grieve homered and drove in three runs.

    Even Carlos Zambrano (14-8) homered, the third of his career and the first since July 2003 at Houston.

    "Right now I'm focused on getting to the playoffs," said Zambrano, who won for the third time in four decisions. "That's my main concern."

    He allowed six hits -- two off his bare right hand -- in seven innings, struck out five and walked three.

    Baker said he winced when he saw Zambrano try to field a ball with his bare hand.

    "Those are always frightening," Baker said. "I suppose it's a natural reaction to stick your hand out there. I've seen guys break their hand that way."

    Chicago, 7-4 against Cincinnati this season, remained a half-game behind San Francisco in the wild-card race.

    "Things are clicking," Lee said of the Cubs, who have won five in a row four times this year. "It seems that one guy every night is having a good night, and that's what it takes."

    Luke Hudson (3-2) gave up three runs, four hits and four walks in four innings -- he needed 41 pitches to get through the fourth, when the Cubs batted around.

    Hudson allowed one hit in the first three innings, then got in trouble in the fourth, when the Cubs built a 3-0 lead on Lee's double and Michael Barrett's sacrifice fly.

    "They got a couple of hits right off the bat on pitches that weren't too bad, then they got the two-RBI double on one of those at-bats where he saw a lot of fastballs," Hudson said.

    "After that, I started trying to pick a little bit too much. I was trying to throw the perfect pitch. I was yanking my curveball low and away to right-handers and low and in to left-handers. The same thing with the fastball. I was trying to make the perfect pitch when I didn't have to."

    Lee hit his 31st homer, matching his career high, in the fifth, and Zambrano homered in the sixth. Sean Casey homered for the Reds leading off the bottom half, making it 7-1.

    "They're trying to bury teams right now, and we don't have much of a margin of error," Casey said. "We have to play error-free ball and pitch well, and we weren't able to do that tonight."

    Chicago batted around in the eighth, when Grieve hit a two-run, pinch-double off Gabe White, Neifi Perez had an RBI double and Todd Walker hit a run-scoring single off Todd Van Poppel.

    D'Angelo Jimenez's RBI double, Willie Mo Pena's run-scoring single and Corky Miller RBI grounder cut the gap against Todd Wellemeyer in the eighth.

    Grieve homered off Van Poppel in the ninth.

    Game notes

    Ramirez is 6-for-9 in the series. ... Casey is one home run short of his 1999 career high of 25. ... With one Florida doubleheader behind them and another scheduled for Monday, the Cubs play 26 games in 24 days. ... Freel, who has started at five positions this year, was in RF in place of slumping Austin Kearns.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press