Baker reaches milestone as Reds trip Cubs


By RICK GANO

AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO — Dusty Baker reached another milestone in his long major league career Tuesday night when he managed his 3,000th game, guiding the Cincinnati Reds against one of his former teams, the Chicago Cubs.

“I’m just glad that out of the 3,000 games, I won more than we’ve lost,” said the 63-year-old Baker, who had a 1,572-1,426 record before Tuesday’s game and also managed one tie game in 2002.

“That’s a lot of games. That’s not as many as some, but I still got quite a few games left in me,” he said.

At 19th on the career list, Baker isn’t even halfway to Connie Mack. Mack is tops at 7,755 games managed.

Baker began his managerial career in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants and led them to the World Series in his final season there in 2002.

He took over the Cubs in 2003 and got them within five outs of the World Series before a monumental collapse against the Florida Marlins in the NL championship series. Following a 66-win season in 2006, Chicago did not renew his contract. But Baker did have more managing in him. Since 2008, he’s been running the Reds and has Cincinnati in position to win its second NL Central title in three years.

The 63-year-old Baker began his playing career in 1968 with Atlanta when he was 19 years old and finished up in 1986. He played in 2,039 games and 40 more in the playoffs.

“Things have gone fairly well. I played a long time, I’ve managed probably equal or longer than I played and I didn’t have any idea I was going to be doing this after my playing days,” said Baker, adding that he’d done some stock brokering before joining the Giants.

Baker was a hailed as a savior when he first came to Chicago as the Cubs were poised to end a World Series championship drought that has now reached 104 years. But his final season was anything but pleasant and he’s often been booed on his return to Wrigley Field, some fans forgetting perhaps that he got the Cubs as close to the World Series as any manager has since their last appearance in 1945.

The Reds’ magic number over the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the division was five before Tuesday night.

Asked if it could be extra satisfying to clinch at Wrigley, Baker said not really.

“I thought of it a few days ago,” he said. “Our goal is just win. I don’t care where we clinch it at really. I just want to clinch it,” he said. “Then go on to step two and hopefully step three and then step four and then go home.”

REDS 3, CUBS 1

CHICAGO — Homer Bailey pitched effectively into the eighth inning, Ryan Hanigan hit a three-run double and Cincinnati moved closer to the NL Central title.

Cincinnati reduced its magic number to four over the Cardinals to clinch the division.

Bailey (12-9) took a two-hit shutout into the eighth before Darwin Barney had his second single of the night and pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair hit an RBI double to make it 3-1. Sean Marshall then came in and hit pinch-hitter Dave Sappelt before getting a strikeout and grounder to end the threat.

Jonathan Broxton worked a perfect ninth for his third save in five chances with Cincinnati, which acquired him in a July 31 deal with Kansas City.

Cubs right-hander Justin Germano (2-8) lost his sixth straight start.

DIAMONDBACKS 3, PADRES 2

PHOENIX — Ian Kennedy pitched eight innings to earn his 14th victory, Miguel Montero drove in two runs with two doubles and the Diamondbacks finally got a home win against the Padres.

San Diego was 6-0 in Arizona this season before dropping the series opener.

Kennedy (14-11) allowed one run and seven hits. A 21-game winner in 2011, Kennedy is 8-3 in his last 12 starts.

Eric Stults (6-3) gave up three runs and five hits in six innings in his first loss since June 3.

J.J. Putz allowed a run in the ninth on Will Venable’s sacrifice fly before finishing for 30th save in 35 opportunities.

BREWERS 6, PIRATES 0

PITTSBURGH — Yovani Gallardo gave up just two hits over 6 2-3 innings and the surging Milwaukee Brewers dropped the weary Pittsburgh Pirates 6-0.

Gallardo (16-8) struck out six and walked four to win his eighth straight decision as Milwaukee moved in front of fading Pittsburgh in the jumbled National League wild-card race. The teams entered the day 2½ games back of the Cardinals, who played Houston later.

Ryan Braun had two hits, drove in a run and stole three bases for the Brewers, who have won six of seven. Milwaukee’s seven stolen bases were the most by the franchise since it moved to the National League in 1998. Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy had three hits apiece for the Brewers.

A.J. Burnett (15-8) gave up two runs in six innings but couldn’t stop Pittsburgh’s late season swoon. The Pirates are 4-12 this month.

MARLINS 4, BRAVES 3 (10)

MIAMI — Jose Reyes hit a two-out RBI single in the 10th inning, and Miami overcame an awful ninth inning to snap Atlanta’s four-game winning streak.

With one out in the 10th, pinch-hitter Rob Brantly was walked by Cory Gearrin (0-1), and Gorkys Hernandez was hit by a pitch. Following a strikeout, Reyes hit a blooper that fell in front of a diving Jason Heyward in right field, and Brantly scored without a play.

Atlanta lost to Miami for only the fourth time in 14 meetings.

The Braves rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the ninth to tie the game. Heyward doubled to start the inning against Steve Cishek, and Chipper Jones walked on a 3-2 pitch. With one out, Dan Uggla singled home a run, and Brian McCann followed with a tying two-run double off Mike Dunn.

TIGERS 12, A’S 2

DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera homered twice, including an eighth-inning grand slam, and the Detroit Tigers had no trouble overcoming an early injury to right-hander Max Scherzer in a 12-2 rout of the Oakland Athletics.

Cabrera matched a career high with six RBIs and now has 40 homers on the season — also a career best. Prince Fielder and Jhonny Peralta added home runs for the Tigers, who remained three games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

Scherzer left after two innings because of a fatigued throwing shoulder. An MRI showed no structural damage.

WHITE SOX 3, ROYALS 2

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gavin Floyd pitched seven crisp innings, Alex Rios hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh and the Sox beat the Royals for their fifth consecutive win.

Alejandro De Aza and Gordon Beckham also went deep for AL Central-leading Chicago, which maintained a three-game advantage over Detroit.

Floyd (10-10), who was making his second start since coming off the disabled with an elbow flexor strain, gave up two runs in the first inning and nothing after that. Luke Hochevar (8-14) allowed just one single the next four innings before Beckham led off the sixth with his 16th home run.

RED SOX 7, RAYS 5

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Felix Doubront limited Tampa Bay’s sputtering offense to one hit over six innings and the Boston Red Sox rallied for a victory that dealt another blow to the Rays’ fading playoff hopes.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, James Loney, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway drove in runs for the Red Sox, who beat their AL East rivals for the second straight night, extending Tampa Bay’s losing streak to four games and dropping the third-place Rays six games behind the division-leading New York Yankees.

TWINS 6, INDIANS 5 (12)

CLEVELAND — Darin Mastroianni scored the go-ahead run from second base on an infield hit in a two-run 12th inning and the Twins tied the Indians for fourth place in the AL Central.

Mastroianni singled with two outs and stole second off Scott Maine (1-1), the team-record 10th pitcher used by Cleveland. Alexi Casilla then poked a ball between first and second that second baseman Jason Kipnis fielded in short right. But Casilla was safe when first baseman Matt LaPorta fielded Kipnis’ throw, but was not on the bag. LaPorta held the ball before reacting too late to throw out Mastroianni at home.

Tyler Robertson (2-2) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win.

 

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