Votto (3 HRs) powers Reds

Gomez hits for cycle in Minnesota's rout

Oakland's Mike Sweeney (left) and his teammates wait to greet Mark Ellis at the plate after Ellis's walkoff home run against the Orioles in the 10th inning. Oakland's Mike Sweeney (left) and his teammates wait to greet Mark Ellis at the plate after Ellis's walkoff home run against the Orioles in the 10th inning. (JED JACOBSOHN/Getty Images)
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Associated Press / May 8, 2008

Nothing special about Joey Votto's first homer, a hanging slider that he pulled into the seats in right field for a modest 1-0 lead.

What followed was breathtaking.

Jon Lieber became only the second pitcher in Chicago Cubs history to give up four homers in an inning, and Votto connected three times in all as the Reds powered their way to a 9-0 victory yesterday in Cincinnati

"I'm like a kid," said Votto, a second-year player who had never hit more than one in a game. "I thought it was cool. It's not a big part of my game."

On a wet, windy afternoon, the home run was everything.

Votto started a four-homer second inning off Lieber (2-2), making his first start of the season. Adam Dunn and Paul Bako also had solo shots, and Jerry Hairston's two-run homer completed the rally.

Known throughout his career for impeccable control, Lieber joined Phil Norton as the only Cubs pitchers to allow four homers in an inning.

The inning was over, but Votto and the Reds weren't even close to finished.

Brandon Phillips and Votto had back-to-back solo homers off Sean Marshall in the fifth, with Votto sending a fastball into the Reds' bullpen in center.

An inning later, Votto went to the opposite field on a fastball from Sean Gallagher for a two-run homer.

Twins 13, White Sox 1 - Carlos Gomez became the first Twins player since Kirby Puckett 22 years ago to hit for the cycle, Livan Hernandez took a shutout into the ninth, and Minnesota won in Chicago.

Gomez homered off Mark Buehrle (1-4) on the game's third pitch. He added an RBI triple in the fifth, doubled in a run in the sixth, and completed the cycle with an infield single to lead off a six-run ninth. The ball deflected off reliever Ehren Wasserman, forcing a rushed throw by shortstop Alexei Ramirez that sailed wide.

Athletics 6, Orioles 5 - Mark Ellis broke out of his offensive funk in a big way.

Ellis hit the first game-ending home run of his career with two outs in the 10th inning, lifting host Oakland over Baltimore for a three-game sweep and its fourth straight victory.

Ellis connected on a 1-and-0 pitch from Lance Cormier (0-1), a solo shot that hit the left-field foul pole and stayed fair. Ellis, batting seventh for the second straight day, was in an 0-for-17 funk - after a career-worst 0-for-18 stretch earlier this season - before he singled with two outs in the sixth.

Mets 12, Dodgers 1 - John Maine became the first New York starter this season to reach the eighth inning, taking a shutout into the ninth during a rout in Los Angeles.

Maine (4-2) hit a two-run single and was two outs from his third shutout and complete game in the majors when Matt Kemp hit an RBI single, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.

Braves 5, Padres 2 - Pinch hitter Greg Norton broke a seventh-inning tie with a bases-loaded single off Joe Thatcher and host Atlanta beat San Diego for its fifth straight win.

Astros 4, Nationals 3 - Carlos Lee drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to lift Houston over Washington.

Pirates 3, Giants 1 - Xavier Nady hit a two-run homer to spoil Barry Zito's return to the San Francisco rotation and Phil Dumatrait pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings for his first career win, leading host Pittsburgh to victory.

Zito (0-7), roughed up in each of his first six starts, couldn't beat a pitcher who hadn't won in 17 previous appearances.

Rockies 4, Cardinals 3 - Chris Iannetta tripled home two runs off Jason Isringhausen (1-3) to cap a four-run, eighth-inning rally to carry host Colorado, which won for just the fourth time in 17 games.

Marlins 6, Brewers 2 - Florida rookie Burke Badenhop pitched 5 2/3 innings for his first major league victory, handing visiting Milwaukee its fifth loss in a row.

Phillies 5, Diamondbacks 4 - Chase Utley singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth and Arizona twice blew late-inning leads night when Philadelphia won in Phoenix.

Rangers 2, Mariners 0 - Vicente Padilla allowed two hits over seven innings and Milton Bradley homered as visiting Texas beat struggling Seattle.

Royals 9, Angels 4 - David DeJesus and Alex Gordon both homered and visiting Kansas City, the lowest-scoring team in the AL, banged out 14 hits in a victory.

Blue Jays 6, Rays 2 - Shaun Marcum came within an out of a shutout, Scott Rolen hit a two-run homer, and host Toronto won.

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