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Fukudome's big birthday leads Cubs past Cards
Lee leaves game with back spasms
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

Kosuke Fukudome went three of four -- including a 3-run home run -- as the Cubs ended a four-game losing streak with a 10-3 rout of St. Louis.


Associated Press

Alfonso Soriano is aided by home plate umpire Laz Diaz and St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina after being hit in the head by a pitch in the second inning Sunday. Soriano remained in the game.


Associated Press

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Published: 4/26/2009 5:50 PM | Updated: 4/26/2009 11:00 PM

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Bruce Miles' game tracker

Payback is: You know what. The Cubs' Alfonso Soriano got hit on the batting helmet by Todd Wellemeyer in the second ining. When the Cardinals' Albert Pujols came to bat in the fifth, Rich Harden hit him in the backside. Harden buzzed Pujols earlier with a couple of inside pitches.

Turning point: The Cubs struck in the first inning against Wellemeyer, scoring 3 runs as the first four batters reached, with three scoring.

Quality update: Harden turned in the sixth quality start in a row by Cubs pitchers. The Cubs had lost four in a row when getting a quality start until the offense helped Harden snap it.

For Micah counter: Micah Hoffpauir came in for Derrek Lee in the first inning, when Lee left with neck spasms. Hoffpauir homered in the seventh inning. It was the Cubs' first homer since Hoffpauir homered off Micah Owings of the Reds last Tuesday.

Cubs scouting report

Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field

TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus (CLTV) today; Channel 9 Tuesday; Comcast SportsNet Wednesday

Radio: WGN 720-AM

Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Ted Lilly (2-1) vs. Dan Haren (1-3) today at 8:40 p.m.; Carlos Zambrano (1-1) vs. Yusmeiro Petit (0-1) Tuesday at 8:40 p.m.; Ryan Dempster (1-0) vs. Doug Davis (1-3) Wednesday at 2:40 p.m.

At a glance: The Cubs were 4-2 against the D'Backs last year, 1-2 at Chase Field, where Cubs manager Lou Piniella canceled batting practice for one day after getting upset with his team's approach in domed stadiums. Lilly has struck out 13 while walking just two so far this year. He is 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA lifetime against the D'Backs. Zambrano is 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA at Chase Field, and Dempster is 1-3 with a 6.69 ERA there.

Next: Florida Marlins at Wrigley Field, Thursday-Sunday

The Great Alfonso Soriano Experiment ended after two games. Maybe it was just as well for the Cubs.

After going 1-for-8 with 3 strikeouts while batting third in the first two games of the series in St. Louis, Soriano moved back into the comfort zone of the leadoff spot Sunday.

Coincidence or not, the Cubs beat the Cardinals 10-3 to snap a four-game losing streak and move back over .500 at 9-8.

Soriano certainly played a part in the victory. He reached base three times - one time painfully - and scored twice while stealing a base.

But the biggest hero was birthday boy Kosuke Fukudome, who went 3-for-4 with a homer and a career-best 5 RBI. As far as celebrating, Fukudome played it low-key.

"More than hitting, winning is the most important thing," he told reporters in St. Louis through his translator. "I'm too old for a cake, and I don't want to get fat."

Soriano helped set the table for Fukudome in the first inning, when he singled on the first pitch of the game off ex-Cub Todd Wellemeyer. Ryan Theriot bunted for a basehit before Fukudome singled home Soriano.

Derrek Lee followed with a run-scoring double to left. Lee finished out the top half of the inning before exiting with neck spasms. According to manager Lou Piniella, the injury shouldn't put Lee on the disabled list.

Soriano was hit on the batting helmet by a pitch from Wellemeyer in the second, but he elected to stay in the game.

"They asked me if I wanted to come out, but I said I'm fine because we don't have too many players," Soriano told the media, referring to the rash of injuries that's hit the Cubs of late. As long as Soriano says he's ready, expect him to stay in the top spot. Last season, he opened as the Cubs' No. 2 hitter, but that experiment lasted just two games. Piniella hit him third in the first two games of the St. Louis series to try to give the Cubs some pop in the middle. Apparently, that's over with, too.

"We'll just put him in the leadoff spot," Piniella said to reporters before the game. "That's where he feels comfortable, and that's where we'll leave him."

Cubs starting pitcher Rich Harden (2-1) worked 6 innings, giving up 4 hits and 2 runs.

Fukudome walked in the second inning, singled home a run in the fourth and hit a 3-run homer in the eighth.