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Perez has four RBI, including three-run homer

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mark Prior feels like he is getting close to his dominant form. Teammate Nomar Garciaparra hopes surgery will help him return to the Cubs' lineup more quickly.

Prior struck out a season-high 10 in six strong innings and Neifi Perez hit a three-run homer and had four RBI to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 10-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.

After the game, Garciaparra said he will have surgery on his groin Wednesday in Philadelphia and hopes to play again this season. Dr. William C. Meyers will not reattach the groin but will clean up tissue around the injured area.

"The decision was made during today's game after coming back and talking to the doctors," Garciaparra said. "It's going to be a minor procedure.

"When you do something like this, it's not just the tendon, there's other tissues that often get damaged when you have something this extreme," he added.

The shortstop injured his groin last Wednesday in St. Louis when he slipped running out of the batter's box. He is expected to miss several months.

Prior (3-0) fought through wildness over the first three innings, throwing 63 pitches and walking two, but still struck out six. He had three strikeouts in the second inning but Austin Kearns reached first base when he swung at a wild pitch for Strike 3.

"It's coming. I felt probably the best I've felt," Prior said.

"They're a good hitting ballclub. Think about the hitters they got in there, (Ken) Griffey, (Sean) Casey, (Adam) Dunn, they're very good and tough to face back to back," said Prior. "You're trying to reinvent the wheel as far as pitch sequences. Getting through those innings, matching their pitcher, gave us a chance to stay in the game."

Prior has won all three of his starts this season and is looking a lot like the pitcher he was in 2003 when he went 18-6. He gave up his first earned run of the year in the fourth, a leadoff homer to Kearns.

Prior struck out Paul Wilson with his 106th and final pitch to retire the side in the sixth. He gave up two runs on six hits and two walks. He didn't want to push another inning so early in the season.

"No sense in getting blown out in first part of season. I'm still trying to get into shape," Prior said.

Perez broke a 2-all tie in the fifth inning with an RBI single to right field off Wilson. Derrek Lee then followed with a two-run double to left, scoring Jerry Hairston and Perez to give the Cubs a 5-2 lead. Lee was 2-for-3 with two RBI.

The Reds pulled to 5-3 in the seventh on Joe Randa's double, but the Cubs added two runs in the bottom half on Jeromy Burnitz's sacrifice fly and Michael Barrett's double. Barrett finished 3-for-4 with two RBI.

Wilson retired the first nine batters he faced before Hairston led off the fourth with a double. After Lee walked, Burnitz hit a hard grounder to second baseman Ryan Freel, who fielded the ball on the outfield grass but lost control when he tried to take the ball
out of his glove, allowing Hairston to score from second. Barrett followed with a single up the middle off Freel's glove and Lee scored, giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

Dunn tied it in the fifth with an RBI double off the right field wall.

Griffey doubled off the wall in left-center in the first and finished 3-for-5. He extended his career-high homerless streak to start a season to 64 at-bats.

"I'm trying to be patient if possible, go out there and play as I can and see what happens," Griffey said.

Wilson (1-2) pitched six innings and allowed five runs on eight hits.

"I felt like I made some good pitches, challenging guys, changing speeds," Wilson said. "It's up to me go out there and shut them down and I didn't."

Chad Fox walked two in the ninth before giving up a towering homer to Dunn that landed on Sheffield Avenue. After the homer, Fox walked Rich Aurilia. He then reached a 3-1 count against Jason LaRue before walking off the mound with an arm injury.

Fox was on the disabled list for most of the season last year with ulnar neuritis in his right arm.

Game notes
Chicago center fielder Corey Patterson didn't start because of the flu. He struck out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. ... Cubs manager Dusty Baker said before the game they will decide later this week
if right-hander Kerry Wood will make his scheduled start Saturday at Houston. Wood left Sunday's start early with tendinitis but still got his first win of the season. ... Cubs reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who recently lost the closer role, pitched a scoreless eighth inning. ... Cubs pitchers struck out 13 overall.