Sunday, September 19, 2004

Pena star of show

Reds: Deal playoff-seeking Cubs crucial loss

By John Fay
Enquirer staff writer

How far has Wily Mo Pena come? Greg Maddux is considered the smartest, craftiest pitcher working today. But twice in two innings, he couldn't fool Pena.

Pena launched long home runs in the fifth and sixth innings to lift the Reds to a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs before a sold-out crowd of 41,829 at Great American Ball Park.

"That was a hell of a ball game, wasn't it?" Reds manager Dave Miley said.

And it was a happy night for the Reds because of Pena, who came up big against a big-time pitcher in a big situation in a hostile environment (it was Wrigley South again at Great American).

Maddux was trying to win his 15th game for the 17th straight year. And the Cubs were trying to move into first place in the National League wild-card race.

"I want to be a big player, like Moises (Alou), Sammy (Sosa) or Manny (Ramirez) someday," Pena said. "I think it will happen."

It could be sooner than anyone ever imagined.

Pena also threw out the tying run at the plate in the eighth.

"That was huge right there," Miley said. "Look what he's done since May - 26 homers, close to 70 RBI. Good for the kid."

Reds starter Aaron Harang had given up 11 home runs in his last three starts, and the Cubs came into the game leading the NL with 216 homers. So when Alou led off the second with his 36th home run of the year, it looked as if it would be another long night for Harang.

But Harang kept it at 1-0 through five innings.

Maddux, meanwhile, limited the Reds to two singles through 4 2/3 innings. But Pena crushed a 2-2 pitch to right-center - a shot estimated at 452 feet.

But things unraveled for Harang in the sixth. He walked Aramis Ramirez to start the inning, and Alou followed with home run No. 37. Derrek Lee and Sosa followed with back-to-back to singles, and Lee scored and Sosa moved to second on a wild pitch. But Harang was able to stop the bleeding there with the score 4-1.

The Reds solved Maddux in the sixth. Ryan Freel led off with a double and scored an out later when Sean Casey doubled. An out after that, D'Angelo Jimenez tied it with his 11th homer.

Austin Kearns followed with a single. Two pitches later, Pena took one out to left-center to give the Reds a 6-4 lead.

Harang went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits.

John Riedling took over and lasted one batter. He injured his left knee fielding a bunt.

Sosa got the Cubs to within one run with his 33rd homer, a long shot to left off Joe Valentine.

After Valentine gave up a hit to Mark Grudzielanek, the Reds brought in closer Danny Graves.

Graves gave up back-to-back singles but Pena threw out Grudzielanek at the plate on the second one.

"That wasn't a good throw," Pena said. "I didn't (have a good grip). I'm glad the ball stayed down."

Graves pitched the ninth for his 41st save, striking out Alou to end the game.

Reds 6, Cubs 5

CPatterson cf501002.279
NPerez ss502001.249
ARamirez 3b410010.314
Alou lf522301.291
DeLee 1b412001.295
SSosa rf412101.259
Grudzielanek 2b401000.307
Bako c100020.207
TWalker ph101000.275
Goodwin pr000000.214
Barrett c000000.297
Maddux p300002.143
Wuertz p000000.000
Remlinger p000000.000
Grieve ph101000.264
Dempster p000000.000
Freel 3b-2b411001.278
Larkin ss300010.291
FLopez pr-ss000000.250
Casey 1b413100.333
Dunn lf300012.263
DJimenez 2b411201.264
Graves p000000---
Kearns rf411003.224
WPena cf422301.262
LaRue c301001.249
Valentine p000000.000
JCastro 3b000010.247
Harang p201001.059
Riedling p000000.000
Valentin c200000.219

LOB-Chicago 8, Cincinnati 6. 2B-Freel (21), Casey (43). HR-SSosa (33), off Valentine; DJimenez (11), off Maddux; WPena 2 (26), off Maddux 2; Alou 2 (37), off Harang 2. RBIs-Alou 3 (95), SSosa (74), Casey (94), DJimenez 2 (60), WPena 3 (66). SB-CPatterson (32). GIDP-ARamirez, Freel.

DP-Chicago 1 (NPerez and DeLee); Cincinnati 1 (FLopez, Freel and Casey).

Maddux L, 14-10696606803.68
Harang W, 9-96644361114.94
Valentine H, 41 1/321101136.17
Graves S, 411 2/330001193.88
Riedling pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

IBB-off Harang (Bako) 1. WP-Harang 2.

T-2:46. A-41,829 (42,271).

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