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Cubs 8, Brewers 5


Cubs 8, Brewers 5
MILWAUKEE (AP) - It was a weekend filled with worries for Lou Piniella, but things didn't seem so bad to the Chicago Cubs manager after Sunday night's 8-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Despite a blown save by the new closer to start the series, too many walks by the rest of the bullpen in the first two games and their only option at catcher hobbled by a sore toe, the Cubs managed to take two out of three games from their NL Central rivals and are headed home with a winning record after their season-opening road trip.

"It turned out to be a good road trip for us, 4-2," Piniella said. "We're home for a while, so I hope we have a good homestand."

Now it's the Brewers' turn to show concern after starter Jeff Suppan turned in another ugly outing. As bad as Suppan's four-inning, six-run performance in Milwaukee's opener at San Francisco was, Sunday's was worse.

"You've got to give us six innings," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "That's two starts in row that he couldn't give us six innings."

Alfonso Soriano clanged the first pitch of the game off the facade in center field for a leadoff home run. Suppan then walked home a whopping three runs in the fourth inning, leaving the bases loaded for reliever Jorge Julio - who promptly walked Derrek Lee to bring home a fourth.

It was more of the same for Suppan, who struggled in the final month of last season.

"Last year is over with," Suppan said. "I'm looking at these last two outings and trying to be a pitcher that helps a team win. That's my goal, that's what I'm trying to do."

Suppan's struggles were just one memorable moment in what turned out to be a wild start to the 2009 edition of one of the NL Central's budding rivalries.

The first two games of the series both were won in the ninth inning, Friday's by Milwaukee and Saturday's by Chicago. And after Sunday's walk parade put the Brewers in an early hole, Prince Fielder nearly bailed them out with one swing of the bat.

But he was robbed Spiderman-style by Reed Johnson, who entered the game after an injury to right fielder Milton Bradley and scaled the outfield wall to take away what would have been a certain game-tying grand slam in the fifth.

Sunday's game wasn't all good news for Chicago: Bradley has a right groin strain, and is not expected to play Monday. And closer Kevin Gregg had another shaky ninth inning.

Chicago did get good news about catcher Geovany Soto, who stuck out as a pinch hitter Sunday - his first appearance since leaving Tuesday's game with a sore right shoulder. Soto is expected to be back in the lineup Wednesday.

Marlins 2, Mets 1

At Miami, Josh Johnson pitched a five-hitter for his second complete game in 45 career starts and Florida scored two unearned runs to hand Johan Santana his first loss since June 28.

While Johnson retired 15 batters in a row, Santana was just as good. The left-hander struck out 13 in seven innings, allowing only three hits. But left fielder Daniel Murphy dropped a two-out flyball in the second for an error that led to both Florida runs.

Santana (1-1) had made 18 starts in a row without a loss, winning 10 consecutive decisions.

Johnson (2-0) struck out seven, walked one and threw 113 pitches in a fast-paced pitchers' duel that took only 2 hours, 4 minutes.

Reds 2, Pirates 0

At Cincinnati, Aaron Harang threw a three-hitter, Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer and the Reds overcame a Pittsburgh triple play.

Harang (1-1) faced just three batters over the minimum while pitching his sixth shutout and 12th complete game. It was the first complete-game shutout of the year in the majors.

Pittsburgh's Ian Snell (0-2) gave up two runs and five hits over six innings.

Cincinnati had a chance to add to its lead in the eighth inning with Jay Bruce on first and Brandon Phillips on second. Edwin Encarnacion hit a blooper into short left that was easily caught by Jack Wilson, who threw to Freddy Sanchez at second base to double up Phillips. By then, Bruce was already at second, and Sanchez threw to first baseman Adam LaRoche to complete the triple play.

It was the first triple play for the Pirates since Aug. 10, 1993, at St. Louis, and the first time the Reds had hit into a triple play since April 21, 2007, against Philadelphia.

Cardinals 3, Astros 0

At St. Louis, Kyle Lohse threw a career-best three-hitter, retiring 24 in a row after giving up a single on his first pitch, and the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep.

Khalil Greene had three hits and an RBI, and Ryan Ludwick extended his hitting streak to 16 games with an RBI single for St. Louis, which went 5-2 on its opening homestand.

Houston has lost four in a row and is off to a 1-5 start while totaling 16 runs.

Lohse (2-0) threw his fifth career shutout.

Houston's Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) gave up three runs and five hits in six innings.

Padres 6, Giants 1

At San Diego, Chris Young pitched seven strong innings to beat Tim Lincecum, and Nick Hundley had a career-high four hits for the Padres.

Young (2-0) allowed an unearned run and four hits. The right-hander struck out seven and walked none.

Lincecum (0-2) had another rough outing after he tied his career low by lasting just three innings in Monday's season-opening 10-6 win over Milwaukee. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner gave up four runs and a career-high 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings.

San Diego has won four straight to raise its record to 5-2, the first time the Padres have been three games over .500 since the end of the 2007 season.

The Giants have lost three straight and four of five.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1

At Phoenix, Randy Wolf tossed two-hit ball into the eighth inning, outpitching Dan Haren to lead the Dodgers.

Wolf (1-1) helped Los Angeles take two of three in an early season series between teams expected to contend in the NL West. The left-hander allowed one run, struck out five and walked two in seven-plus innings.

Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.

Haren (0-2) gave up two runs and four hits in six innings.

Braves 8, Nationals 5

At Atlanta, Chipper Jones drove in two runs, including a tiebreaking single, and the Braves handed Washington its sixth straight loss to start the season.

Jair Jurrjens (2-0) gave up five hits and walked five in 5 1-3 innings but allowed only four runs, three earned, to help the Braves sweep the three-game series and improve to 5-1.

Washington is the only winless team in the majors.

The Braves scored their first five runs on two-out rallies in the fourth and fifth to beat Scott Olsen (0-2), who gave up six hits and five runs in five innings.

Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.

Elijah Dukes had two hits and drove in three runs for the Nationals.

Phillies 7, Rockies 5

At Denver, pinch-hitter Matt Stairs connected for a tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth inning to lift Philadelphia.

Chase Utley tied it at 5 with a two-run homer in the eighth and Ryan Howard had three hits for the Phillies, who won the last two of the three-game series. Utley went 2-for-3 and scored three times.

Ryan Madson (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth and Brad Lidge, the last of six Philadelphia pitchers, finished for his second save.

Huston Street (0-1) got the loss. Colorado put two men on in the ninth, but Lidge got Troy Tulowitzki to ground out to end the game.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 13, 2009

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