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Chicago recovers after losing 5-1 lead

CHICAGO (AP) -- Tom Goodwin accepts his role as a part-time
player and pinch-hitter. His time on the field might be limited,
yet he still has the chance to determine an important game.

And that's what he did Friday for the Chicago Cubs, who blew a
late lead, waited out a 49-minute rain delay and then rallied to
beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6.

"You have to have those type of guys on the team because the
superstars can't do it every day," Goodwin said after delivering a
bases-loaded, two-run single as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.

Chicago, which began the day one game behind first-place Houston
in the NL Central, squandered a 5-1 lead when the Reds scored five
times in the seventh against Mark Guthrie and Antonio Alfonseca
(2-1).

But after a rain delay with one out in the bottom half, the Cubs
came out energized and staged one of their most crucial rallies of
the season.

"It might have helped us because momentum was definitely on
their side," Goodwin said of the rain.

"Nobody was panicking when we came in. I thought we felt we
could get the runs. It might have been a good time for a break
because they came out and put a five-spot on us. It's not an easy
thing to regroup from and come right back out and try to get some
runs."

Scott Randall (2-2) walked Randall Simon with two outs and gave
up an infield hit to Aramis Ramirez. Alex Gonzalez then singled to
left, but Simon was held at third, leaving the bases loaded.

John Riedling relieved, and Goodwin hit a 1-2 pitch up the
middle that went off D'Angelo Jimenez's glove at second for a
two-run single.

Alfonseca won in his first appearance since a five-game
suspension for bumping an umpire.

Joe Borowski got his 27th save in 31 chances, stopping the Cubs'
two-game losing skid. He gave up two singles in the ninth before
Ray Olmedo hit into a forceout -- third baseman Ramirez went high
for his chopper -- and Steve Smitherman struck out, ending the game.

"I saw a lot of good things. You don't want to call the crowd
hostile, but it's an environment that a lot of these guys haven't
had a chance to be in front of," Reds interim manager Dave Miley
said.

"It came down to the last out and the last strike."

Nineteen of the 28 players on the Reds' roster began the season
in the minors or the Mexican League, and 14 were at Wrigley Field
on Friday for the first time.

"These games matter and they start to matter to you," Sean
Casey said. "It makes it fun for us, too. We are trying to be the
spoiler right now."

And the Reds almost were.

Kerry Wood allowed five hits and struck out nine in six innings,
leaving with a 5-1 lead before Cincinnati rallied.

Pinch-hitter Dernell Stenson -- in a 7-for-39 slump -- hit a
two-run double to cap the Reds' five-run seventh.

Jimenez and Casey singled before Russell Branyan hit an RBI
double off Guthrie that made it 5-2.

Ruben Mateo greeted Alfonseca with a two-run double. Corky
Miller walked and Wily Mo Pena sacrificed just as a hard rain began
to fall at Wrigley Field. After Olmedo struck out, Stenson drove a
two-run double to the wall in left-center to put the Reds ahead.

Chicago scored in each of the first four innings, chasing Seth
Etherton, who got just six outs.

Moises Alou hit a sacrifice fly, Kenny Lofton had a run-scoring
double, Mark Grudzielanek had an RBI single, Ramirez hit a
run-scoring grounder and Brian Reith threw a wild pitch with a
runner on third.

Branyan hit an RBI single in the fifth for the only run allowed
by Wood.

There were no spillovers from the teams' previous meeting on
June 19, when Cubs reliever Kyle Farnsworth tackled Reds pitcher
Paul Wilson during a fight.

Game notes
Goodwin is 10-for-26 (.385) as a pinch-hitter this season.
He has also started 31 games in the outfield. ... The Cubs are 9-3
in September and the remainder of their schedule features 15 games
against non-contenders: the Reds, Mets and Pirates. ... Reds
catcher Jason LaRue left in the third with back spasms and was
replaced by Miller.