9/7 Pena power, Demp, Castro & Ramy
Carlos Pena’s three-run homer in the eighth Wednesday was his ninth first-pitch home run of the season, good for second most in the Major Leagues behind teammate Aramis Ramirez, who has 12. It was Pena’s seventh home run off a lefty this year, and 26th of the season, and gave the Cubs a 6-3 win over the Reds. The ball soared over the right field bleachers onto Sheffield Avenue.
“I would’ve liked to have seen that with no wind let alone the wind blowing out,” Ryan Dempster said. “That’s a big win for us.”
The Reds brought in lefty Bill Bray to face Pena.
“We had the match-up we wanted,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Billy has been great on lefties all year, hitting [.188] off him. Pena is hitting [.135] off of lefties. He made a mistake and hung a slider that didn’t slide. It just spun up there. He didn’t miss it.”
Pena now has five homers and 16 RBIs against Cincinnati.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Baker said. “Evidentially, he must like hitting off of us.”
* Dempster now is 6-6 with a 3.59 ERA in his last 17 starts, but has not won since Aug. 11.
* Starlin Castro has reached base safely in his last 21 games since Aug. 15, a career high. He has hit safely in 32 of his last 35 games, batting .323 in that span. He has 49 hits in his last 34 games, and leads the NL with 182 hits. He’s on pace for 206 this season. Castro is riding a 12-game home hitting streak.
* Aramis Ramirez hit his 254th double as a Cub, tying him with Wildfire Schulte for 14th on the team’s all-time doubles list.
– Carrie Muskat