Two of those four wins have come over Cincinnati, mired in its deepest slump since 1955 — five straight losing seasons — and looked like more of the same under new ownership. Left fielder Adam Dunn, a fellow Texan who chatted with Bush in the clubhouse before the game, provided a signature moment when he turned the wrong way and then fell on the warning track while chasing Derrek Lee’s RBI double in the sixth.
Dunn got cheered sarcastically every time he caught a fly ball for the rest of the game.
“If you want to say we’re going to go out and stink up the season, go ahead, but it’s not going to ruin my season,” said Dunn, who also dropped a fly ball for an error. “If you want me to say we’re going to go 0-162, I’m not going to do that. I’m not writing off my season because of opening day.”
By contrast, the Cubs looked right at home on a raw afternoon with the wind blowing out — much like Wrigley Field in April.
Murton got it going with his eighth major league homer, hit off loser Aaron Harang. He also slammed into the scoreboard in the left-field wall to catch Austin Kearns’ fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning.
“The wind out there was a tough thing,” said Murton, 24, a key part of the Cubs’ youngest opening day lineup since 1977. “You had to give it your best effort and keep your feet moving.”
For the second year in a row, Carlos Zambrano failed to make it through the fifth inning of an opening day start. Scott Hatteberg hit a three-run homer, and Dunn tied it with a leadoff shot in the fifth.
Twelve batters later, the Cubs regained control and ended the suspense. Will Ohman got the win in relief of Zambrano.
Before the game, Bush visited the Reds’ clubhouse and shook hands with each player in front of his locker. He received a black bat from Ken Griffey Jr., who patted the president on the back of his right shoulder.
Then, he was off to visit the Cubs for another quick go-around. As Bush entered the clubhouse of a team that hasn’t won the World Series since 1908, he said, “So, this is the year, right?”
Notes: Bush wore a red-and-black Reds warmup jacket for his on-the-fly toss to catcher Jason LaRue, another fellow Texan who squatted behind the plate even though he had knee surgery a week earlier. ... The Cubs have played the Reds more than any other team in season openers, going 17-15 and winning nine of 12. ... The Reds are 1-3 in openers at Great American.
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