CINCINNATI (AP) -- All Michael Barrett wanted was a routine hit
to break a scoreless tie. With one graceful swing, he got a whole
Barrett's grand slam in the seventh inning sent Carlos Zambrano
and the Cubs to a 4-2 victory Saturday over the Cincinnati Reds,
who had trouble getting Chicago's catcher out for the second
Henry Blanco drove in three runs during a 6-5 victory Friday
that snapped the Reds' eight-game winning streak. Barrett's two-out
slam off Esteban Yan put the Cubs in line for their second straight
"What can I say?" Barrett said. "Those things happen when you
least expect them."
Zambrano (5-3) did what the Cubs have come to expect, shutting
down one of the NL's most prolific offenses. The right-hander gave
up four hits in 7 2/3 innings, including Ken Griffey Jr.'s solo
homer, pitching just a little bit better than left-hander Brandon
Claussen (3-7) left a scoreless game with the bases loaded in
the seventh, then watched from the dugout as everything turned on
one pitch. Yan, obtained from the Angels on May 30, came in to face
Barrett, who hit his second pitch off the facing of the upper deck
in left field.
It was Barrett's eighth homer of the season and his third career
slam. He also hit one off Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen on
"That was a huge hit from Michael," manager Dusty Baker said.
"It was major decision time in the game for everybody."
Griffey led off the Reds' eighth with his 547th homer, leaving
him one behind Mike Schmidt for 11th on the career list. Griffey
also had a double off Zambrano in his first at-bat.
Cubs closer Ryan Dempster, who threw 35 pitches during a wild
ninth-inning save on Friday night, had a few more tense moments. He
gave up an RBI single to Brandon Phillips before retiring Griffey
and Rich Aurilia to end it, getting his 11th save in 14 chances.
Zambrano has rebounded from his poor April -- 0-2 in six starts --
by going on his best streak of the season. He's 5-1 in his last
eight starts, and has been particularly hard to hit the last two
The right-hander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning Monday
before Preston Wilson singled with one out -- Houston's only hit off
Zambrano in the Cubs' 8-0 victory. The Reds didn't have much more
success, managing only two hits through the first seven innings.
"I'm pitching right now," said Zambrano, who threw a
season-high 126 pitches. "At the beginning of the season, I was
throwing the ball. That's the big difference."
Claussen wasn't surprised to be pitching in a close game. More
often than not, the Reds' offense has a tough time when he's on the
mound. In seven of his 13 starts, Cincinnati has scored two runs or
less, leaving him no margin for error.
"I felt like I kept us in the game," Claussen said.
"Unfortunately, you've got to catch the breaks sometimes. I didn't
catch a break tonight."
The left-hander gave up five hits and threw 114 pitches before
he was replaced by Yan. In seven career starts against the Cubs,
Claussen is 1-6 with a 6.75 ERA.
Griffey helped keep it scoreless until the seventh with the
game's best defensive play, slamming into the wall to catch
Barrett's fly to center in the fourth inning. Griffey hit his back
hard on the padded wall, but held onto the ball and stayed in the
Right fielder Austin Kearns was back in the Reds' lineup, a day
after a cramp in his hamstring forced him out of the game. Kearns
went 0-for-3 with a walk.
RHP Carlos Marmol will make his first major league start
Sunday against the Reds, filling in for injured RHP Kerry Wood. ...
Cubs CF Juan Pierre snapped an 0-for-16 slump with a third-inning
double. ... Narron was back after missing one game to attend his
daughter's graduation. ... C David Ross was 0-for-4, ending his
12-game hitting streak. ... The Reds commemorated the 62nd
anniversary of Joe Nuxhall's historic big league debut. Nuxhall was
only 15 years old -- the youngest player in modern major league
history -- when he pitched in relief for the Reds. Nuxhall, who was
recently treated for pneumonia, rode around the field on a cart
before the game.