Series: Game 2 of 3

Chi Cubs leads 2-0 (as of 9/13)

Game 1: Friday, September 12
Chi Cubs7
Game 2: Saturday, September 13
Chi Cubs9
Game 3: Sunday, September 14
Chi Cubs0

Reds 6

(63-85, 30-43 away)

Cubs 9

(79-69, 39-35 home)

    4:05 PM ET, September 13, 2003

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    CIN 011112000 6 13 1
    CHC 04001040 - 9 14 1

    W: A. Alfonseca (3-1)

    L: M. Belisle (1-1)

    S: J. Borowski (28)

    Karros has four RBI in victory

    CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs are doing their best to make this a season to remember, even finding ways to make games against the lowly Cincinnati Reds exciting.

    Eric Karros drove in four runs and Mark Grudzielanek went 3-for-5 with two RBI as the Cubs rallied from yet another blown lead to beat the Reds 9-6 Saturday.

    It was Chicago's 29th comeback victory of the year.

    "The last two days, we've come from ahead," Karros said, smiling. "We should have put those games away early. But we're up for it. This is exciting."

    The Cubs remained a game back in the NL Central when Houston beat St. Louis 2-0 Saturday night.

    "We just need to keep winning," Grudzielanek said. "If we take care of ourselves, things will work out."

    But the Cubs are finding ways to make it interesting. Because of injuries and trades, Cincinnati is practically a Triple-A team these days. They have so many new, young players that there are guys sporting uniform numbers in the 60s and 70s.

    Yet Chicago blew a 5-0 lead to the Reds on Friday before coming back to win 7-6, and it was more of the same Saturday. The Cubs led 4-1 after the second and 5-4 after the fifth, but couldn't hold on to either lead.

    They finally got things straightened out with a four-run seventh inning. With Chicago down 6-5, pinch-hitter Kenny Lofton led off with a double down the right-field line and went to third on Doug Glanville's sacrifice bunt.

    Grudzielanek followed with a single off Matt Belisle (1-1), tying it at 6. Sammy Sosa followed with a single and, after Scott Randall relieved, Moises Alou drew a walk to load the bases.

    Ramirez singled in the go-ahead run, and Karros gave the Cubs a couple of insurance runs with a two-run double.

    "You can be up 7-2 in the eighth inning and still have to battle for those last two innings," Reds catcher Corky Miller said. "With a veteran club like that, you have to throw it and hope they hit it to somebody."

    Belisle gave up three runs and three hits in 1 1-3 innings for the Reds. Antonio Alfonseca (3-1) worked one inning to win for the second straight day. Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 32 chances.

    When Borowski struck out Russell Branyan to end the game, the Wrigley Field fans gave the Cubs a long and loud standing ovation. Five minutes after the game ended, many fans were still standing.

    "Everybody's feeling the fever," Lofton said. "And when you feel it, anything can happen."

    Just like Friday, the Cubs jumped out to an early lead, scoring four runs off starter John Bale in the second inning. Karros drove in two, and the Cubs got some help from Cincinnati's shaky defense.

    Glanville singled to third with two outs, but Tim Hummel's throw to first skipped in the dirt for an error, allowing Alex Gonzalez to score and give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.

    But also just like Friday, the Cubs couldn't hold it. Sean Casey got one run back with an RBI single in the third. In the fourth, the Reds strung together three straight singles with two outs, and Ray Olmedo's RBI single cut Chicago's lead to 4-3.

    D'Angelo Jimenez homered in the fifth, tying it at 4.

    Cubs right-hander Juan Cruz led off the fifth with a triple, the first extra-base hit of his career. One batter later, Cruz scored on Grudzielanek's single to put the Cubs ahead 5-4.

    That lead wouldn't stand up either, though. Cruz gave up back-to-back singles to start the sixth inning. Mark Guthrie relieved and, after striking out pinch-hitter Eric Valent, gave up RBI singles to Olmedo and Hummel.

    "You have to keep pecking away, and we know that," Lofton said. "A run here and there is going to help us out. It doesn't matter how far down you are. Just keep battling, because anything can happen in this game."

    Especially with the Cubs this year.

    Game notes

    Cruz's triple was the first by a Cubs pitcher since Kevin Foster on Aug. 20, 1996. ... Alfonseca earned wins in consecutive appearances for the first time since June 6-8, 1999. ... Hummel's error in the second inning was the Reds' 129th, worst in the majors. The Reds have at least one error in 86 of their 147 games. ... Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was at the game with his daughter, Amy.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press