|Baker's Reds lose to Cubs 9-5 in return to Wrigley|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 16 April 2008 00:01|
On Tuesday night, the unpredictable gusts got the best of his Cincinnati Reds.
Chicago batters took advantage of wind blowing out to hit three homers and beat the Reds 9-5 in Baker's first game in Chicago since being fired after the 2006 season.
``The first thing you do when you get here, you check the wind,'' Baker said.
Derrek Lee, Mark DeRosa and Ryan Theriot all connected for the Cubs. Ken Griffey Jr. hit home run No. 595 and Joey Votto had a solo shot for the Reds, who lost their fourth straight.
Lee's fifth homer of the season - and fifth of his career against the Reds' Aaron Harang - was a long drive to left-center on a night with the wind blowing out at 19 mph and gusts up to 26 mph.
``We talked about it today in batting practice. There were not too many balls left today when we got done,'' DeRosa said. ``All you had to do was get it up in the air.''
In other NL games, it was: Arizona 8, San Francisco 2; Philadelphia 4, Houston 3; Florida 4, Atlanta 0; N.Y. Mets 6, Washington 0; Chicago Cubs 9, Cincinnati 5; St. Louis 6, Milwaukee 1; San Diego 6, Colorado 0; and L.A. Dodgers 11, Pittsburgh 2
Closer-turned-starter Ryan Dempster (2-0) gave up five hits and four runs in six-plus innings. He left during the seventh when the Reds loaded the bases with no outs but scored only one run, thanks to stellar defensive plays by Mike Fontenot at second and Lee at first.
Dempster gave up a two-run shot to Griffey in the third. The Reds' star is sixth on the career list. No. 5 is Sammy Sosa with 609.
``With the wind blowing out you try to minimize the damage as much as you can,'' Dempster said.
Baker got the Cubs within five outs of the World Series five years ago, but after a last-place finish in 2006, his contract was not renewed.
He got an earful from the crowd at Wrigley that booed him loudly when he changed pitchers in the seventh and eighth innings. It was something he expected.
``Sooner or later you're going to get booed. So, what the heck?'' he said before the game.
The win might have come with a price for the Cubs. Leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano never came to bat after hurting his right calf when he used his unique hop to catch Ken Griffey's first-inning fly ball.
It was initially called a strain, but Soriano was having an MRI on Tuesday night and manager Lou Piniella said he didn't know how long his star will be out.
``It'll probably be a while,'' Piniella said. ``If he's out an extended period, it will hurt us.''
Phillies 4, Astros 3
At Philadelphia, Pedro Feliz's RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning capped a four-run rally.
Houston starter Shawn Chacon allowed only four singles in eight impressive innings before handing the ball to closer Jose Valverde (2-1).
Pat Burrell tied the score at 3 with a two-run homer to right.
Rudy Seanez (1-1) earned the win with a hitless inning. Valverde stayed stuck on 99 career saves.
Padres 6, Rockies 0
At San Diego, Randy Wolf held Colorado hitless for 6 2-3 innings and struck out nine, and Brian Giles collected his 1,000th RBI to lead San Diego.
Wolf (1-0) and reliever Kevin Cameron, recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, combined for a two-hitter. It was the Padres' second consecutive shutout and third of the season. They led the majors with 20 shutouts last year.
Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2) gave up six runs - two earned, thanks to his throwing error - in 4 2-3 innings.
Diamondbacks 8, Giants 2
At San Francisco, Chris Young hit a two-run homer off Kevin Correia (1-2) and Conor Jackson connected for the second consecutive game to support Micah Owings, who struck out six in six innings and didn't give up a hit until Eugenio Velez singled leading off the fourth. The right-hander gave up one run and three hits with two walks.
Mets 6, Nationals 0
At New York, David Wright homered and drove in five runs, Jose Reyes returned with four hits and New York beat struggling Washington on Jackie Robinson Night.
Mike Pelfrey (2-0) pitched a career-high seven innings, his first scoreless outing in the majors. He gave up five hits and two walks with four strikeouts, sending the Nationals to their 10th loss in 11 games.
Odalis Perez (0-3) gave up two runs and six hits in six innings for the Nationals.
Cardinals 6, Brewers 1
At St. Louis, Braden Looper (3-0) pitched around Prince Fielder and limited the rest of a Milwaukee lineup missing Ryan Braun - given the day off - to three hits in five innings.
Skip Schumaker had two hits and two RBIs and Adam Kennedy was 3-for-4 with an RBI for the surprising Cardinals, who lead the NL Central with a 10-4 record.
Dave Bush (0-3) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, the strongest of his three starts.
Marlins 4, Braves 0
At Miami, Scott Olsen (2-0) pitched seven innings of five-hit ball and Josh Willingham hit an RBI triple and scored a run.
Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens (1-2) gave up two runs and four hits in six innings.
Dodgers 11, Pirates 2
At Los Angeles, Jeff Kent and Russell Martin homered, James Loney extended his season-opening hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI single, and the Dodgers ended Pittsburgh's four-game winning streak.
Esteban Loaiza (1-2) got the victory in relief of starter Hong-Chih Kuo, allowing a run and three hits over the final five innings.
Matt Morris (0-2) gave up six runs in 4 2-3 innings.