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JUST A WALK IN THE PARK FOR CUBS


JUST A WALK IN THE PARK FOR CUBS
If the first two games of the Milwaukee Brewers' home-opening series against the Chicago Cubs were any indication, Sunday night's finale was one worth watching.

And, with ESPN in town for its first Sunday Night Baseball telecast here in nearly 12 years, the two teams provided plenty of talking points.

From a Cubs walk-a-thon in the fourth inning to Chicago substitute right fielder Reed Johnson robbing Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder of a grand slam in the fifth to a late Milwaukee rally, the game surely caught the eye of more than a few viewers.

Unfortunately for the Brewers , they were on the wrong end of most of the highlights in an 8-5 loss in front of a crowd of 40,168 at Miller Park.

The Cubs went in front via four bases-loaded walks in the fourth, and Johnson kept them in front by climbing the right field wall to keep Milwaukee, which has lost four of its first six, from tying the game at 6. Fielder came up with a chance to tie it in the ninthbefore striking out against Chicago closer Kevin Gregg.

"That wasn't a very well-pitched game," said Brewers manager Ken Macha, whose team gave up just five hits but walked 10 Cubs batters, "and yet we still had a chance."

Brewers starting pitcher Jeff Suppan (0-2) lasted just 3 2 3 innings, allowing five earned runs on two hits and six walks.

Much like his opening day outing in San Francisco - when he allowed six earned runs in four innings - Suppan did little to show he's bounced back from last season's horrid final month.

"You've got to give us six innings," Macha said. "That's two starts now in a row where I'm in the bullpen for a lot of innings. He's going to need to trust his stuff and go after the hitters."

Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano crushed the first pitch of the game to straightaway center field to stake Chicago to a 1-0 lead.

The Brewers tied it in the bottom half of the first on shortstop J.J. Hardy's sacrifice fly, but Suppan lost control in the fourth when he issued four walks. Three came with the bases loaded, and reliever Jorge Julio walked in another run to make it 5-1. It was only the ninth time a team has issued four bases-loaded walks in one inning since divisional play began in 1969.

"Four walks in that inning is just a poor job," Suppan said. "We had a good game plan tonight and I just wasn't able to execute it."

The Brewers were within 6-2 and had a bases loaded situation of their own with no outs in the fifth.

Fielder hammered an offering from Cubs starter Ryan Dempster to right that looked like his second homer in as many days.

But Johnson - in the game after starter Milton Bradley limped off with a groin strain in the fourth - leaped, reached over the wall and snared the ball before it landed in the Cubs' bullpen.

"You can't be mad about it," Fielder said. "He did his job."

Rickie Weeks tagged up and scored on the play, and Craig Counsell scored on Hardy's groundout to third to make it 6-4. But, with Ryan Braun on second, Corey Hart swung and missed the first three pitches he saw to end the inning.

Chicago padded its lead with runs in the eighth and ninth. Weeks' solo homer with two outs in the ninth off Gregg pulled Milwaukee within 8-5, and a double by Counsell and walk by Braun brought Fielder to the plate.

But, for the second straight night, he struck out to end the game.

"It's a long season," Fielder said, "hopefully it will start going more our way and I won't strike out."

Chicago AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Soriano lf 3 1 1 2 2 0 .286 Fukudome cf 3 0 1 1 2 1 .409 Lee 1b 3 0 0 2 1 0 .080 Bradley rf 1 0 0 0 0 0 .059 1-Johnson pr-rf 2 1 0 0 0 0 .333 Ramirez 3b 5 0 0 0 0 0 .269 Fontenot 2b 3 1 0 0 2 1 .333 Theriot ss 4 2 2 1 1 0 .550 Hill c 4 1 1 2 1 1 .235 Dempster p 3 1 0 0 0 0 .000 Marshall p 0 0 0 0 0 0 - b-Gathright ph 0 1 0 0 1 0 .000 Marmol p 0 0 0 0 0 0 - c-Soto ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .167 Gregg p 0 0 0 0 0 0 - Totals 32 8 5 8 10 4 Milwaukee AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Weeks 2b 5 3 3 1 0 0 .280 Counsell 3b 3 1 2 0 2 0 .600 Braun lf 3 0 0 0 1 0 .208 Fielder 1b 3 0 1 1 1 1 .250 Hardy ss 3 0 0 2 0 1 .087 Hart rf 4 1 1 1 0 2 .273 Duffy cf 4 0 0 0 0 2 .000 Kendall c 4 0 0 0 0 1 .000 Suppan p 1 0 0 0 0 1 .333 Julio p 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000 a-Mcgehee ph 1 0 1 0 0 0 .333 Mcclung p 0 0 0 0 0 0 - Stetter p 0 0 0 0 0 0 - d-Nelson ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000 Totals 33 5 8 5 4 10 Chicago 100 410 011-8 5 0 Milwaukee 100 120 001-5 8 1 a-singled for Julio in the 6th. b-walked for Marshall in the 8th. c-struck out for Marmol in the 9th. d-struck out for Stetter in the 9th.

1-ran for Bradley in the 4th.

E - Counsell (2).

LOB - Chicago 10, Milwaukee 8.

2B - Theriot (3), Hill (1), Counsell (1).

HR - Weeks (1), off Gregg; Hart (2), off Dempster; Soriano (4), off Suppan.

RBIs - Soriano 2 (7), Fukudome (4), Lee 2 (4), Theriot (3), Hill 2 (4), Weeks (4), Fielder (4), Hardy 2 (4), Hart (2).

SB - Soriano (2), Theriot (2), Gathright (1).

SF - Lee, Fielder, Hardy.

Chicago IP H R ER BB SO ERA Dempster W, 1-0 6 6 4 4 3 6 4.50 Marshall H, 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 Marmol H, 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 Gregg 1 2 1 1 1 2 12.00 Milwaukee IP H R ER BB SO ERA Suppan L, 0-2 3.2 2 5 5 6 1 12.91 Julio 2.1 1 1 1 2 0 4.15 Mcclung 2 1 1 1 1 1 6.00 Stetter 1 1 1 1 1 2 9.00 Inherited runners-scored - Julio 3-1.

IBB - off Dempster (Fielder) 1.

HBP - by Julio (Johnson), by Dempster (Braun), by Suppan (Bradley).

WP - Dempster.

T - 3:23.

Att. - 40,168.

Cubs 8, Brewers 5

Key: Chicago OF Reed Johnson robs Prince Fielder of a grand slam in the fifth inning.

Next: 7:05 p.m. today, vs. Cincinnati, Miller Park, ESPN.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 15, 2009

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