Cubs Win, Soriano Hurt

Tuesday, April 17th 2007, 7:29 am
By: News On 6

Just when the new-look Chicago Cubs began to play some winning baseball, Alfonso Soriano went down with an injury.

The star outfielder came out in the fifth inning Monday night after straining his left hamstring while attempting a diving catch in Chicago's 12-4 rout of the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs hoped to know more about the injury after an MRI exam Tuesday. Even if the test reveals no tears, Soriano thought he would miss at least five days.

``It's not that bad,'' he said.

Soriano, who limped out of the clubhouse after the game, was shaken up on a night when the Cubs shook up their lineup.

Chicago began the day last in the NL Central at 4-7 and entered with five losses in six games, so manager Lou Piniella shuffled a few players around.

The biggest change was moving Jacque Jones from right field to left and dropping him to sixth in the batting order. Matt Murton started in right, batted cleanup and delivered two hits and two RBIs.

Piniella said before the game he was simply ``changing things up a little bit. Nothing more, nothing less.''

He also said one move that's not under consideration at the moment is moving Soriano out of center field, even though he entered with a .234 average and no homers. Of course, the bigger issue afterward was his health.

``I don't like to get hurt,'' Soriano said. ``I know that I'm not going to be able to play tomorrow, so it's sad for me because ... I like to play every day. We'll see how I look tomorrow.''

Barry Zito looked much better on the mound for San Francisco, earning his first win with the Giants. The left-hander, who signed a $126 million, seven-year contract in the offseason, gave up three hits in six innings of an 8-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

``I was a lot more relaxed and didn't get caught up in everything,'' Zito said. ``It's been an adjustment with a new team, new everything. It was good to get back to my old self.''

In other NL games, it was: Washington 5, Atlanta 1; Milwaukee 10, Cincinnati 6; Houston 4, Florida 3; Pittsburgh 3, St. Louis 2; and Los Angeles 5, Arizona 1. New York's game at Philadelphia was postponed by rain and rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader on June 29.

Ray Durham and Bengie Molina hit consecutive homers for the Giants, who hadn't played since Friday night due to rain in Pittsburgh. Barry Bonds was one of five San Francisco players and coaches to wear Jackie Robinson's No. 42 _ a tribute pushed back a day because of the wet weather.

Bonds was 1-for-3 with a walk, narrowly missing his fourth home run of the season. His fourth-inning drive hit just below the yellow line on the right-field fence.

Zito (1-2) combined with three relievers on a six-hitter. He struck out four and walked three, improving to 86-4 when his team scores four or more runs. He also lowered his ERA from 8.18 to 5.29.

``Great effort by him,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ``It's not an easy park to pitch in.''

Jeff Francis (1-1) lasted only five innings for the Rockies, giving up seven runs and nine hits.

At Chicago, Jason Marquis (1-1) allowed one run in six innings to win for the first time in three starts since signing a $21 million, three-year contract with the Cubs. He beat Clay Hensley (0-3), who was tagged for 10 runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings.

Soriano, who signed a $136 million, eight-year contract, and Marquis were key components in the Cubs' offseason makeover.

``I've had some injuries in my career, and I know when you sign a contract the last thing you want to do is get hurt,'' Cubs outfielder Cliff Floyd said. ``Hopefully, it's not that bad, and we'll get him back as soon as possible.''

Chicago responded to the lineup changes with season highs for runs and hits (14). Michael Barrett, Mark DeRosa and Floyd homered for the Cubs, who were 0-7 against San Diego last season.

Pirates 3, Cardinals 2

At St. Louis, Albert Pujols popped up with the bases loaded for the final out, and Pittsburgh got an excellent pitching performance from Ian Snell.

Snell (1-1) threw seven innings of three-hit ball and Xavier Nady had two RBIs, helping the Pirates snap a four-game skid. Salomon Torres escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth for his fifth save, retiring Chris Duncan on a shallow fly to left and Pujols on a foul popup to third.

Anthony Reyes (0-2) gave up three runs in the first for the Cardinals, who are 1-5 at home since clinching the 2006 World Series.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 1

At Phoenix, Nomar Garciaparra drove in two runs with a homer and a double as Los Angeles won for the ninth time in 11 games. Brad Penny (3-0) allowed one run in seven innings.

Brewers 10, Reds 6

At Cincinnati, Bill Hall broke out of a 1-for-22 slump with his first career grand slam, a seventh-inning shot that powered Milwaukee. It was the Brewers' first slam since J.J. Hardy connected on Sept. 7, 2005, also in Cincinnati. Rickie Weeks hit a solo homer off Eric Milton (0-2) to back winner Chris Capuano (2-0).

Nationals 5, Braves 1

At Washington, Matt Chico (1-1) overcame a shaky start to earn his first major league win, and Dmitri Young honored Jackie Robinson a day late with three hits and two RBIs on a cold night at RFK Stadium.

The victory gave the Nationals their first winning streak this season. They've won three of four after a 1-8 start. Young, wearing Robinson's No. 42, hit a two-run double off Chuck James (2-1).

Astros 4, Marlins 3

At Houston, Morgan Ensberg singled home the winning run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Right before his big hit, Ensberg hit a foul popup down the right-field line that should have been caught. But right fielder Joe Borchard crashed into Dan Uggla, knocking the ball out of the second baseman's glove.