Originally created 06/20/03

Reds beat Cubs



CINCINNATI -- Paul Wilson held Sammy Sosa to a harmless single in seven strong innings, then was bloodied and ejected during Cincinnati's second brawl in a week as the Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Thursday.

Wilson and Kyle Farnsworth went after each other in the bottom of the seventh, after the hard-throwing Cubs reliever threw him an inside fastball as he tried to bunt. Wilson whirled and yelled at the mound, and the two pitchers charged each other.

Farnsworth tackled Wilson with his right shoulder, knocking the Reds pitcher on his back, then threw a punch that appeared to miss his face. They were quickly engulfed by teammates.

The two pitchers were the only ones ejected. Wilson (5-4), who gave up only three hits, had a cut on the bridge of his nose that left blood spattered across his white jersey.

It was much tamer than the Reds' fight with the Phillies last Friday, when Adam Dunn charged the mound after Carlos Silva threw a pitch behind his back. Dunn and Sean Casey were the two Reds ejected for that fight, and await punishment from baseball.

Scott Williamson got the final three outs for his 17th save in 18 chances. The Cubs loaded with the bases with one out before pinch-hitters Lenny Harris and Troy O'Leary struck out.

Barry Larkin had three hits and drove in a run as the Reds gained a split of their four-game series and dampened Sosa's return from his suspension for using a corked bat.

Sosa got two hits and another mixed reception from the capacity crowd. The Reds sold out his first two games back from the seven-game suspension. Their only other back-to-back sellouts came during the Yankees' first visit since 1976.

Sosa went 2-for-4 with a prodigious homer in his return Wednesday night, when he heard more boos than cheers. He also got the sharpest reaction from a crowd of 41,692 in the final game of the series.

The cheers and boos were about evenly divided as he came to the plate and grounded out in his first at-bat. Several youth groups chanted "Sammy! Sammy!" as he came to bat in the fourth and lined a single to right field.

When he was on deck in the sixth, one fan behind the plate screamed: "Hey, Sosa, your homers don't matter, your RBIs don't matter, your career doesn't matter. You're a joke!"

Third baseman Aaron Boone then robbed Sosa of a hit, making a nice backhand stop on a grounder down the line.

Other than his at-bats, there wasn't much that got the crowd buzzing until the seventh-inning brawl.

Mark Prior (8-3) couldn't get comfortable on the mound, which pitchers complain is flat. The grounds crew brought out dirt at his request to fill in a hole in front of the rubber in the third.

Prior, who was 3-0 in his last four starts, allowed seven hits and two runs in six innings. He gave up Casey's RBI single off his leg in the third, and Ray Olmedo's run-scoring grounder in the fourth. Larkin had an RBI single in the seventh off Todd Wellemeyer.

Notes: The Cubs finished their trip 5-5 and return to Wrigley Field for an interleague series against the crosstown rival White Sox. ... Sosa is 12-for-32 in his last eight games. ... Ken Griffey Jr. was out of the Reds lineup for the third consecutive game with a sore leg and hip. A precautionary MRI test on Wednesday night found inflammation, but nothing serious. He replaced Wilson at the plate after he was ejected in the seventh and lined out.