Reds belt 6 home runs
By Dave van Dyck
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 11, 2006, 10:43 PM CDT
Some days you lose, and then there are days like the Cubs had Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
Oh, they lost all right, 9-2 to the Reds. You might even say they were blown away, given Cincinnati's six home runs on the first day when the Wrigley Field flags were pointing straight out.
Then there is the problem of what to do with starter Glendon Rusch (0-2), who was shelled for four runs in five innings and left with an ERA of 8.00.
Then there is the question of how the Reds could hit six home runs (the one-game record against the Cubs is seven) and the Cubs only one.
And don't forget the issue of the leg injuries to right fielder Jacque Jones and third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
If it weren't for catcher Michael Barrett, who hit his third home run in as many games, Tuesday would have been one of those days when it would have been better to have a rainout.
As it was, the Cubs were forced to play and face Bronson Arroyo as the opposing pitcher.
For the second time in less than a week, Arroyo shut down the Cubs and hit a home run, onto Waveland Avenue no less, off Rusch. It marked the first time a pitcher had hit two homers off the same Cubs pitcher in a season since Walt Terrell victimized Ferguson Jenkins in 1983.
"I don't have anything [prophetic] for you," Rusch said. "He got two pitches and he hit them good. Other than that, there's nothing I can say."
Well, how about the wind?
"It's irrelevant," Rusch said, "because if the elements play that much into the [outcome], look at the way Arroyo threw the ball. He threw seven shutout innings on the same mound and the same field I did. So you have to give him credit for throwing the ball well, and I didn't throw good pitches."
So what will the Cubs do with Rusch, who allowed solo homers in each of the first four innings to Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Arroyo and Dunn again? Does he come out of the rotation for one of the Triple-A kids?
"At this point we're a little thin," Baker said, "so we'll stick with him. It would be different if we didn't know what he could do. But we've seen what he can do. It's just that both [losses] have come against a team that hit him pretty good."
Rusch, whose first ground-ball out was in the fourth inning, was pulled after five, but Will Ohman was even worse, giving up two hits, a walk, a grand slam and a solo homer before Baker spared him a further round of booing.
On the positive side, relievers Michael Wuertz and Jerome Williams each pitched two scoreless innings. But by then the Reds' sluggers may have been worn out.
Meanwhile, the Cubs didn't score until the eighth when Derrek Lee doubled home Todd Walker. They added Barrett's solo shot in the ninth.
As for the injuries, neither appears to require a visit to the disabled list, although Jones did have an MRI on his left hamstring.
In other words it was one of those completely lost days for the 36,708 wind-blown fans at Wrigley Field, who actually got to see something unusual.
"They say if you stay in baseball you see a lot of firsts, but that's the first time I've seen four solo home runs in each of the first four innings," said Baker, who has been a part of more than 5,000 games.