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St. Louis at Chicago

Lee goes deep in support of Maddux as Cubs take home opener

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs want to rack up the wins at Wrigley Field. Well, this was a good start.

Greg Maddux pitched neatly into the seventh inning, Derrek Lee hit his second homer of the season and the Cubs won their home opener, 5-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

A week shy of his 40th birthday, Maddux earned his 319th career victory. He sent the Cardinals to their first loss of the season after a three-game sweep at Philadelphia.

"We didn't play well here last year, and it hurt us," Lee said. "We need to establish a home-field advantage."

The Cubs were 38-43 at home last season, 79-83 overall, and finished fourth in the NL Central. They struck immediately against a team that led the majors with 100 wins last season.

Lee put the Cubs ahead with a solo home run in the first inning. Neifi Perez added three hits for the Cubs and Ronny Cedeno tripled and doubled.

Maddux (1-0) gave up four hits, struck out one and walked two. He left with a 5-1 lead after allowing a home run to Jim Edmonds with one out in the seventh and walking the next batter, Scott Rolen.

Bob Howry relieved and retired So Taguchi and Gary Bennett to end the threat.

After going 13-15 last season and finishing below .500 for the first time since 1987, Maddux was sharp from the start, hitting the corners. With cool, blustery conditions, Maddux at times had difficulty with his balance, but, "As hard as it was to pitch, it was probably harder to hit."

Fielding was a problem, too, as the swirling winds wreaked havoc on several fly balls.

One shot by Edmonds in the fourth was knocked down by the wind. Left fielder Matt Murton took a few steps back, came in, caught it and threw a one-hopper to first to double off Juan Encarnacion to end the inning.

"The wind obviously was a real tough deal out there today," Murton said. "It was one of those balls that when hit, Encarnacion thought was going to have a chance to get down. I came in on the ball, was able to field it, looked up and saw that he was a ways off the base and was able to get him."

With Kerry Wood and Mark Prior on the disabled list, the Cubs need their other starters to come through. But the pitchers were erratic in a two-game split with Cincinnati.

The Cubs walked 16 batters in the first two games, including five by Carlos Zambrano in the season-opener.

Maddux was in control, and the Chicago hitters roughed up Jeff Suppan (0-1).

A 16-game winner last season, Suppan gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings. He struggled from the outset, after going 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA against the Cubs last season.

"My location wasn't particularly good with my offspeed pitches so I tried to go sinkers down, and they were able to put up runs pretty much every inning," Suppan said.

With two out in the first, Lee homered. The Cubs added a run in the second on Cedeno's two-out triple to the right-field corner, and scored two more in the third.

With runners on first and second and one out, shortstop David Eckstein made a diving stop on Aramis Ramirez's grounder but threw wildly to second, allowing a run to score. Michael Barrett's single to center made it 4-0 before Murton grounded into a double play.

That was plenty for Maddux.

"He did a great job sinking it, cutting it, using the changeup," Eckstein said. "He throws everything. He's probably the best at painting the game, knowing each hitter."

Notes

  • With or without a contract extension, Lee expects negotiations to end by Saturday. "I don't think it's going to go on much longer than today or (Saturday), honestly," he said. "I don't want to continue to go back and forth. I think we'll know something today or tomorrow." Acquired in a trade with Florida in November 2003, Lee had by far his best season last year when he led the NL with a .335 average, finished second with 46 home runs and drove in 107 runs. "We have a good relationship," general manager Jim Hendry said. "We were trying to get something done by the weekend."
  • The Cubs presented a framed photograph of the late DePaul basketball coach Ray Meyer throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day 1984 and honored him with a moment of silence before the game. Meyer's son, Joey, who succeeded his father at DePaul, then threw out the first pitch, and the Meyer family led the crowd in singing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch. Ray Meyer died at age 92 on March 17.
  • After two more games against the Cubs, the Cardinals will play their first game in their new ballpark when they host Milwaukee on Monday. "The fans are going to like it because there's enough there when you look at it, it reminds you of the old park and lots that's new," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's really a nice mix."
 
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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Greg Maddux gives up four hits in 6 1/3 innings for his 319th career win.  (AP)
Greg Maddux gives up four hits in 6 1/3 innings for his 319th career win. (AP)

St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4010010 .235
Juan Encarnacion, RF4010001 .222
Albert Pujols, 1B4000001 .357
Jim Edmonds, CF4111011 .188
Scott Rolen, 3B1010200 .375
So Taguchi, LF3000003 .125
Gary Bennett, C3000012 .000
Aaron Miles, 2B3000010 .500
Jeff Suppan, P1000000 .000
   a- John Rodriguez, PH1000000 .000
    Braden Looper, P0000000 .000
   b- Scott Spiezio, PH1000010 .000
    Adam Wainwright, P0000000 .000
Totals29141258 
a-flied out for Suppan in the 6th
b-struck out for Looper in the 8th
Batting
2B - Scott Rolen (1, Maddux)
HR - Jim Edmonds (1, Maddux)
RBI - Jim Edmonds (3)
SB - David Eckstein (1, 2nd base off Maddux/Barrett)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Juan Encarnacion 1
DP - Eckstein-Miles-Pujols, Rolen-Miles-Pujols, Miles-Eckstein-Pujols
E - David Eckstein (1, Wild throw), Juan Encarnacion (1, Dropped fly, out advancing)
St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Suppan (L,0-1) 5854321 7.20
Braden Looper 2100000 0.00
Adam Wainwright 1000000 0.00
IBB - Jones by Jeff Suppan
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 75-0, Braden Looper 22-0, Adam Wainwright 10-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 9-2, Braden Looper 5-1, Adam Wainwright 2-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 24, Braden Looper 7, Adam Wainwright 3
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4011000 .357
Neifi Perez, 2B4130000 .571
Derrek Lee, 1B3211102 .333
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010001 .250
Jacque Jones, RF3000111 .000
Michael Barrett, C4011001 .231
Matt Murton, LF3100101 .250
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .000
Ronny Cedeno, SS3121000 .500
Greg Maddux, P3000012 .000
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
    Angel Pagan, LF0000000 .667
Totals31594328 
Batting
2B - Neifi Perez (1, Looper), Ronny Cedeno (2, Suppan)
3B - Ronny Cedeno (1, Suppan)
HR - Derrek Lee (2, Suppan)
RBI - Juan Pierre (2), Derrek Lee (5), Michael Barrett (3), Ronny Cedeno (1)
2-OUT RBI - Derrek Lee (1), Ronny Cedeno (1)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Matt Murton 1
DP - Murton-Lee, Perez-Cedeno-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Greg Maddux (W,1-0) 6.1411211 1.42
Bob Howry 1.2000030 0.00
Ryan Dempster 1000010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Greg Maddux 87-0, Bob Howry 18-0, Ryan Dempster 11-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Greg Maddux 8-8, Ryan Dempster 2-0
Batters Faced - Greg Maddux 23, Bob Howry 5, Ryan Dempster 3
Game Information
Attendance - 40869
Game Time - 2:13
Temperature - 40
Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Terry Craft, Third Base - Dan Iassogna