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Slow starter Lee gets first homer in 11 games

4/19/2004

CHICAGO (AP) -- Derrek Lee pumped his fists and let out a wide smile when his fly to right cleared the wall for a grand slam.

He's had few hits to celebrate this season.

Lee connected off reliever Ryan Wagner in the seventh inning,
highlighting the Chicago Cubs' 8-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds
on Monday.

The homer was the first in 11 games for Lee, a notoriously slow
starter. He entered the game hitting .244 with one homer and four
RBI.

"It seemed like I hadn't had a hit in forever," Lee said. "I
don't know that I've ever had a quick start. Maybe I can pick it up
the next couple of weeks."

Lee, acquired in the offseason in a trade with Florida, is a
career .228 hitter in March and April and has hit .223 in May.

Matt Clement (2-1) settled down after a rocky first inning to
allow one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings to pick up his second
win in as many starts.

The right-hander retired 11 batters in a row and 15 out of 16 at
one point, striking out six and walking four.

The Cubs led 3-1 when Lee came to the plate with the bases
loaded and no outs. The big first baseman said he was just trying
to hit a sacrifice fly to drive in a run.

Instead, the ball kept sailing.

"That was huge. That was a real big blow," Cubs manager Dusty
Baker said. "I'm just glad he hit it when he hit it."

It was Lee's fifth career grand slam and first with the Cubs.

Aramis Ramirez hit his fifth homer of the season. Corey
Patterson added a two-run single for the Cubs and Alex Gonzalez had
three hits and scored twice.

Wagner, the Reds' first-round pick in the 2003 draft allowed
five runs without recording an out before leaving the game. It was
the worst outing of his young career.

"Everything was belt high. He got the ball up and they were
hacking away at it," Cincinnati manager Dave Miley said. "That's
going to happen. It's not only going to happen to Ryan Wagner, it's
going to happen to the best in the league. He'll learn from it."

Patterson put the Cubs up 2-1 in the second inning. He came up
with the bases loaded and two outs, fouled off a pair of full-count
pitches from Jimmy Haynes and then lined a single to right.

"I was able to get the count to 3-2 and I got the pitch I was
looking for," Patterson said. "It's easier said than done, but in
that situation you have to just calm yourself down."

Haynes (0-2) went five innings, giving up three runs on six hits
and three walks. The right-hander has failed to pitch past the
fifth inning in both of his starts this season.

Clement avoided big trouble in the first inning, surrendering
just one run despite walking three and giving up two hits.

After a run-scoring single by Adam Dunn, Clement walked Austin
Kearns to load the bases with two outs. Clement struck out Jason
LaRue on a 3-2 pitch to escape the jam.

D'Angelo Jimenez didn't help the Reds with a baserunning blunder
in the first. He drew a leadoff walk, but was doubled off first
when Barry Larkin popped out to shallow right field. Jimenez didn't
pick up the ball and was approaching third base when Sammy Sosa
easily threw him out.

"At Wrigley Field, when the wind is blowing out everything
everybody is hitting is leaving the yard," Clement said. "Maybe I
was trying to be a little too careful."

Game notes
The Cubs set an attendance record for a four-game series
with 159,461. The old record of 159,040 was set last season against
Houston. ... Dunn has seven homers in April and needs three more to
tie the club record of 10 held by Tony Perez. ... Sosa has hit
safely in seven straight games. He has three homers over that
stretch. ... The wind was blowing out to right at 23 mph to begin
the game. ... The Reds have played eight day games in a row, the
longest stretch since 1962 when they had nine straight road games.