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Cubs Can’t Find Any Offense, Lose 2-0

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Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (AP) – Johnny Cueto was strong in his season debut Sunday, allowing five hits and pitching into the seventh Sunday as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0.

Drew Stubbs hit his sixth homer for the Reds and Cueto (1-0), who was activated off the disabled list before the game, won a pitcher’s duel with Ryan Dempster.

Four Reds’ relievers completed the shutout. Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his sixth save in seven chances, one day after giving up two ninth-inning runs in a 3-2 loss.

Cueto began the season on the DL with irritation in his right biceps/triceps. He left Sunday’s outing after giving up Alfonso Soriano’s leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh. During his 102-pitch outing, he walked one and struck out four.

Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto went 0 for 4 and had his season-opening string of reaching base stopped at 33 straight games, one shy of Dave Collins’ modern club record set at the beginning of the 1981 season.

Jay Bruce’s single, an infield out and RBI single from Ramon Hernandez put the Reds up 1-0 in the second. Stubbs hit a two-out homer in the fifth, a line drive over the wall in left-center.

Dempster (1-4) allowed five hits and two runs with no walks and four strikeouts in seven innings.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the seventh. After Soriano’s leadoff single finished Cueto, reliever Sam LeCure plunked pinch-hitter Reed Johnson and walked Kosuke Fukudome with two outs before retiring Starlin Castro on a grounder to third.

Chicago also threatened in the third when Dempster singled and made it to third on an error on shortstop Edgar Renteria, who made an errant flip to second after fielding Fukudome’s grounder. But moments later, Dempster was tagged out trying to score on a grounder to third baseman Miguel Cairo. Marlon Byrd then reached on an infield single to load the bases before Aramis Ramirez flied out.

NOTES: Votto’s career-best streak for reaching base safely at any point in the season is 41 games established last year from May 15-July 3. That streak was snapped when he was ejected in the first inning of a game at Wrigley Field. … Reds INF Paul Janish missed his second straight game with a right ankle injury he got rounding third base in Friday’s series opener. … Virginia Commonwealth basketball coach Shaka Smart, who led the Rams to the Final Four this year, threw out the first pitch to Cubs’ reliever Sean Marshall. Marshall attended VCU. Smart also sang during the seventh inning stretch. … Some players used pink bats, while others and home plate umpire Bob Davidson sported pink wristbands to raise breast cancer awareness on Mother’s Day. Cubs’ left fielder Soriano wore pink colored shoes to honor his mother, who died in January of an apparent heart attack. … Castro was 0 for 4 and is 2 for 25 in his last six games. …Cubs reliever Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect eighth and now has 14 straight scoreless innings. … Reds pitchers were called for two balks, Cueto in the fourth and Nick Masset in the eighth.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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