CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs got off to a fast start against Mike Leake and Paul Maholm took over from there, using the early run support to stop a couple of losing streaks.
Maholm pitched six solid innings for his first win in nine months and the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-1 on Saturday to stop a six-game slide.Maholm (1-2) also snapped a personal six-game losing streak. The left-hander allowed one run and four hits, struck out five and walked three in his first victory since July 10 for Pittsburgh against the Cubs.
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After giving up a combined 12 runs in the first four innings of his first two starts, Maholm quickly settled down after yielding Brandon Phillips' run-scoring single in the first."Obviously, the first two starts I had two innings where I've given up big innings," Maholm said. "I think as a starter if you want to go deeper in the game, if you get into trouble you have to limit it to one run and get us back in there. You can't have the wind knocked out of the team of putting us behind big time early."Obviously, with the offense tying it right back up you got a shutdown inning coming up."Darwin Barney and Steve Clevenger each had three hits for the Cubs, who grabbed control with a four-run second inning. Starlin Castro had a double and a triple.Joey Votto and Phillips went a combined 1 for 7 for the Reds, who have lost six of nine. Mike Leake (0-2) allowed 10 hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings."We had some chances to come back in that game," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "We could have pecked away and got a little closer."One day after he learned he will not face charges over an alleged sexual assault, Castro tripled home a run in the second and doubled in the fifth.State's attorney spokeswoman Sally Daly said Friday police and prosecutors reviewing the case found insufficient evidence to charge Castro. His attorneys have said the allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman last fall are baseless.Bryan LaHair hit a tying sacrifice fly in the first, and the Cubs added four more runs in the second.Clevenger led off with a single to right and moved to second on a groundout. Joe Mather followed with an RBI double to left."That was a big hit with the pitcher coming up next," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It kind of started the snowball effect."Mather advanced on Leake's errant pickoff attempt and scored on David DeJesus' single. Barney added a run-scoring double and came home on Castro's first triple of the season to make it 5-1.Clevenger added an RBI single in the seventh as the Cubs finished with a season-high 14 hits.Clevenger, the backup catcher, is 10 for 17 on the season.Sveum said he will go with Geovany Soto at catcher on Sunday and Clevenger isn't about to lobby for more playing time."I really try not to focus on that too much," he said. "I just come to the ballpark and get my work in and when Dale needs to me to be ready, I'll be ready. Whether it's to taking ground balls somewhere, I will be ready."The Reds had runners on third and second with no outs in the seventh, but James Russell retired Stubbs, Votto and Phillips to get out of the inning.
SS Castro committed two errors to run his major league-worst total to seven. "I'm not going to sit there and talk to everybody every time somebody makes an error," Sveum said. ... Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps. OF Tony Campana was recalled from Triple-A Iowa, and Randy Wells will start in place of Dempster on Sunday.