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Bruce, Reds crush Cubs

Cincinnati,  OH  (SportsNetwork.com) -  Jay Bruce  made an  error in his first 
career  start at first  base, but also homered for the second straight game to 
help  guide  the Cincinnati  Reds to  a 9-3 win  over the  Chicago Cubs in the 
opener of a five-game series. 

Bruce,  an  outfielder by  trade, had spent  the first 899  games of his major 
league  career occupying  one  of  the three  outfield  spots.  He had  played 
exclusively in right since the start of the 2009 season but was moved to first 
base on Monday because of former MVP Joey Votto's nagging muscle strain in his 
left  knee.  Votto  missed his  second  straight  game  and  may land  on  the 
disabled list. 

Bruce  finished  2-for-4 with  two RBI and  two runs scored  for the Reds, who 
improved  to  6-3 against Chicago  this season.  Starter Mike Leake (7-7) also 
continued  his dominance over the Cubs, striking out seven in seven innings to 
win his fourth consecutive decision against them. 

Edwin  Jackson (5-9)  absorbed the loss, yielding four runs on seven hits over 
six  innings. Cubs leadoff hitter  Chris Coghlan went  4-for-5 with a pair of 
doubles and two runs scored. 

The Reds manufactured a run in the first inning, with Billy Hamilton working a 
leadoff  walk, moving  to third  on  Todd Frazier's  single and  scoring on  a 
Brandon Phillips sacrifice fly to right. 

Chicago  tied it with a run in the top of the fifth. With Coghlan on third and 
two  outs, Anthony  Rizzo grounded  sharply down  the first  base line.  Bruce 
stabbed at the ball but couldn't scoop it up, allowing Coghlan to score. 

"I felt like it was solid," Bruce said of his play at first base. "I felt like 
I  should  have made the play  on the backhand down  the line. We were able to 
score  some runs  to kind of erase  that. I've never been more stressed on the 
baseball field, that's for sure." 

The  Reds put two more across in the home fifth, however, to go back in front. 
With  two  gone and runners  on second and third,  Hamilton smacked a liner to 
right. Frazier followed with an RBI base knock to left. 

Devin Mesoraco's RBI double in the sixth made it 4-1. 

Chicago  drew  back within  a run in  the seventh on  Rizzo's two-run blast to 
right,  but  Bruce's long ball  in the home portion  put Cincinnati back up by 
three  runs.  He made amends for  his earlier miscue, crushing a James Russell 
offering down the right field line for a two-run shot. 

Blake  Parker walked  two to start the  eighth and Zack Cozart singled to load 
the  bags for Hamilton,  who cleared them with a three-run triple to right for 
the final runs. 

                                   Game Notes 

The  game was  delayed for  21 minutes  in the  third inning  due to  rain ... 
Mesoraco  has 10 RBI in his last eight games against the Cubs ... Votto missed 
23  games earlier this season with the same injury ... Bruce had gone 0-for-26 
before  hitting  the game-winning home run  in the eighth inning on Sunday ... 
Rizzo's HR broke a string of eight games without an extra-base hit ... The two 
teams will play a doubleheader on Tuesday. 

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