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Reds rally to beat Cubs; Rookie pitcher Leake pitches into 7th

Cincinnati, Ohio–Righthanded pitcher Mike Leake became the 21st player since the draft began in 1965 to play in the majors without appearing in a minor league game and first since Xavier Nady with the San Diego Padres in 2000. He also became the first American pitcher to accomplish the feat since Darren Dreifort with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994.

He had a wild major league debut, trailed 1-0 but his team rallied to tie the game and then eventually won it, 3-1.

Leake worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first. He struggled with his control but collected two hits at the plate.

Reds' Mike Leake (Arizona State photo)

Reds Manager Dusty Baker was very impressed with Leake’s composure after the Cubs loaded the bases in the first. The former Arizona State star got Aramis Ramirez to pop up, struck out Marlon Byrd and retired Alfonso Soriano on a flyout to end the threat.

The 22-year-old had those seven walks but allowed just one run and four hits over 6 2-3 innings.

Leake, selected eighth overall, also is the first player from the 2009 draft to make his major league debut.

Chicago lefthanded pitcher Tom Gorzelanny was very sharp in his first start of the season. He struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings, allowing an unearned run and four hits. Leftfielder Alfonso Soriano’s error helped the Reds tie it at 1-1 in the seventh. With runners on first and second and one out, Soriano dropped Jonny Gomes’ fly ball into the leftfield corner. That loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo, whose sharp one-hopper bounced off reliever Sean Marshall for the tying infield single.

Cincinnati loaded the bases in the eighth inning on two singles and a walk against John Grabow (0-2), and Esmailin Caridad walked Ramon Hernandez to force in the go-ahead run. Jonny Gomes followed with a sacrifice fly.

Setup man Nick Masset (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Reds’ closer Francisco Cordero finished for his second save in two opportunities.

The Cubs have struggled since the season began on offense. Sunday they left 11 runners on base.

GAME NOTES

* Mike Leake lined a single to center field with one out in the third inning for the Reds first hit and started the sixth with a soft liner down the right field line. He is the first Reds pitcher to get two hits in his major league debut since Benny Frey on September 18, 1929 against Philadelphia.

* Mike Leake’s game cap was headed for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

* The last Reds pitcher to get a hit in his first major league at-bat was Matt Maloney, who singled off Chicago’s Ryan Dempster last June 6, 2009 in Cincinnati.

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