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Chi. Cubs «0000221005110
San Francisco200000000261

Blanco backs up Prior as Cubs bounce back vs. Giants

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Derrek Lee has noticed the Chicago Cubs are a much better team when they don't think about the big picture or the playoffs.

The Cubs know if they keep winning games, this club will make an impact on the postseason even if Chicago will not be taking part.

Henry Blanco hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning to bail out starter Mark Prior, and the Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants 5-2 Saturday.

"We're playing great baseball," Lee said. "We've got to continue it. It seems like we've done it before and fallen back. We've just got to push to the end of the season. I think we've been playing better when we've taken the focus off (the race) and focused on that day's game."

Jeromy Burnitz had a two-run single to end an 0-for-9 stretch and Lee hit a pair of doubles and drove in a run as the Cubs bounced back with their bats a day after managing just two hits against 20-year-old Matt Cain.

Prior (11-5) had his problems early, but recovered to pitch well in the middle innings -- he didn't allow a hit after the third -- and then received the run support he needed. He has won four of his last five decisions.

"He started out not very sharp," manager Dusty Baker said. "I was debating whether to start him out in the seventh. He ended the game strong."

Batting in the eighth spot in the order, Blanco connected off starter Brad Hennessey (4-7) for a drive over the left-field wall, just inside the foul pole. It was just his second homer since July 29.

Blanco's homer gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead, then Lee doubled in a run in the seventh that chased Hennessey. Ryan Dempster worked the ninth to convert his 12th straight save and 26th in 28 chances overall.

J.T. Snow hit an RBI double, Pedro Feliz added a sacrifice fly and Randy Winn doubled for the Giants, who announced during the game that Barry Bonds will be activated Monday.

Bonds took a day off from baseball activity after five straight days of on-field workouts, and likely will resume his chase of Hank Aaron's home run record when the team opens a three-game series against first-place San Diego on Monday night.

The seven-time NL MVP, recovering from three operations on his right knee since Jan. 31, was scheduled to speak to Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' team orthopedist, on Saturday afternoon before San Francisco decided when to activate him from the disabled list to play for the first time this year.

"I saw it on the scoreboard," manager Felipe Alou said of hearing about Bonds' status. "I didn't have a lot of time to think about it because I was managing the last two innings. Tomorrow is the big day to make plans. He's been practicing and running around. That's good enough for me, of course."

The Cubs tied the game in the fifth on three straight two-out hits. Jerry Hairston singled, Lee doubled and Burnitz's single scored two.

Prior, making his first start against San Francisco since 2003, needed 37 pitches to get through the first and fell behind 2-0 before finding his groove.

"I was just struggling with my control," Prior said. "I was nibbling on the corners, especially with lefties. I was fortunate I was able to hang around. ... I shouldn't be throwing this many pitches."

After Moises Alou started the third with a single, Prior retired 13 of the final 16 batters he faced and didn't allow another hit. He allowed five hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings, struck out seven and walked three. But he threw 122 pitches.

Hennessey's winless stretch reached eight starts, and he is 0-4 since a 3-0 win at Milwaukee on July 28. The right-hander was tagged for five runs and nine hits, and he gave way to Jack Taschner in the seventh.

"I was missing pitches after the third inning and I don't have the velocity to miss," Hennessey said.

Neifi Perez took over at shortstop for Chicago in the second after starter Ronny Cedeno was hit in the left hand by a pitch in the top half of the inning. Cedeno stayed in the game but had a hard time fielding and came out.

X-rays were inconclusive, but trainer Mark O'Neal said Cedeno could have a small non-displaced fracture in the hand. He will see a hand specialist once the team returns to Chicago.

Notes

  • Blanco also connected at Pittsburgh on Sept. 3.
  • Hennessey had faced the Cubs only one other time -- losing in his major-league debut when Greg Maddux won his 300th game on Aug. 7, 2004.
  • San Francisco C Mike Matheny got a day off and Yamid Haad caught in his place.
  • Winn has hit safely in 27 of his first 36 games with the Giants since coming to the club in a trade with Seattle on July 30 -- and he has 15 multihit games during that span.
  • The game drew 42,013 for the Giants' 21st sellout this season.
  • Jose Macias stopped an 0-for-14 slump with his eighth-inning single.
  • Snow's double was his 1,035th hit as a Giant -- moving him into sole possession of 10th place on the San Francisco hits list.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Mark Prior yields two runs and strikes out seven over 6 2/3. He improves to 11-5.  (AP)
Mark Prior yields two runs and strikes out seven over 6 2/3. He improves to 11-5. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Burnitz
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Chicago

H. Blanco
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Chicago Cubs
Corey Patterson, CF5000014 .219
Jerry Jr. Hairston, LF4220002 .265
Derrek Lee, 1B5121011 .343
Jeromy Burnitz, RF4012111 .264
Scott McClain, 3B5000004 .167
Todd Walker, 2B4010021 .299
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .071
Ronny Cedeno, SS0000000 .300
    Neifi Perez, SS3110001 .282
Henry Blanco, C4132001 .265
Mark Prior, P3000002 .182
    Jose Macias, 2B1010000 .273
Totals3851151517 
Batting
2B - Derrek Lee 2 (45, Hennessey, Hennessey)
HR - Henry Blanco (6, Hennessey)
RBI - Derrek Lee (99), Jeromy Burnitz 2 (76), Henry Blanco 2 (23)
2-OUT RBI - Jeromy Burnitz 2 (36)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Perez-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Mark Prior (W,11-5) 6.2522370 3.64
Will Ohman (H,13) 0.2000100 2.37
Roberto Novoa (H,12) 0.2100120 3.89
Ryan Dempster (S,26) 1000010 3.48
HBP - Niekro (by Mark Prior)
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Prior 122-75, Will Ohman 14-7, Roberto Novoa 17-9, Ryan Dempster 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Prior 2-9, Will Ohman 2-0, Ryan Dempster 2-0
Batters Faced - Mark Prior 27, Will Ohman 3, Roberto Novoa 4, Ryan Dempster 3
San Francisco Giants
Randy Winn, CF4120120 .289
Omar Vizquel, SS3000104 .275
J.T. Snow, 1B4111021 .278
Moises Alou, LF3020100 .313
Ray Durham, 2B4010012 .301
Pedro Feliz, 3B2001100 .260
Daniel Ortmeier, RF3000112 .222
Yamid Haad, C2000013 .048
   a- Lance Niekro, PH0000000 .263
    Justin Knoedler, C1000000 .000
Brad Hennessey, P2000020 .188
    Jack Taschner, P0000000 .000
   b- Todd Linden, PH1000011 .226
    Jeremy Accardo, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Walker, P0000000 .000
   c- Edgardo Alfonzo, PH1000000 .279
Totals3026251013 
a-hit by pitch for Haad in the 7th
b-struck out for Taschner in the 7th
c-grounded out for T. Walker in the 9th
Batting
2B - Randy Winn (40, Prior), J.T. Snow (16, Prior)
SF - Pedro Feliz (6)
RBI - J.T. Snow (36), Pedro Feliz (76)
CS - Omar Vizquel (10, 2nd base by Prior/Blanco)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Yamid Haad (3, Wild throw)
San Francisco Giants
Brad Hennessey (L,4-7) 6955111 5.12
Jack Taschner 1000020 1.93
Jeremy Accardo 1200010 4.50
Tyler Walker 1000010 4.77
HBP - Hairston (by Brad Hennessey), Cedeno (by Brad Hennessey)
Pitches-Strikes - Brad Hennessey 91-58, Jack Taschner 13-9, Jeremy Accardo 17-12, Tyler Walker 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Hennessey 10-7, Jeremy Accardo 1-1, Tyler Walker 1-1
Batters Faced - Brad Hennessey 30, Jack Taschner 3, Jeremy Accardo 5, Tyler Walker 3
Game Information
Attendance - 42013
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - Angel A. Hernandez, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Brian Knight