Saturday, June 5, 2004

NL: Mixed news: Prior great, Cubs lose

The Associated Press

CHICAGO - Mark Prior pitched as if he'd been around all season. His fastball was buzzing, his curveball was dipping and batters were having difficulty getting hits.

After two months on the disabled list, Prior's season debut was a huge success. But even his sterling six-inning performance Friday couldn't carry the struggling Chicago Cubs to a victory.

"It felt good to be out there. I'm not going to lie. I had some anxiety going and probably a little nervousness going into it," Prior said after allowing just two hits and getting a no-decision as Pittsburgh rallied past the Cubs 2-1.

"I think I got a little gassed right there at the end, the last two or three hitters," Prior said of his 85-pitch performance, 55 for strikes. Prior walked none, struck out eight and showed no signs of the Achilles tendon and elbow soreness that kept him out of the rotation.

The Pirates rallied for two runs in the ninth.

Jack Wilson doubled off Joe Borowski (2-4) and scored on Craig Wilson's two-out single to tie it. Pinch hitter Chris Stynes then hit a go-ahead single off Mike Remlinger.

"Any time you're facing Prior, you know it's going to be tough," Jack Wilson said. "He had his stuff on, he was throwing hard. He's only going to get better."

Salomon Torres (4-1) got the win and Jose Mesa pitched the ninth for his 14th save as the Pirates ended a five-game losing streak.

"To come in against Prior, that's going to be tough from the first pitch. We definitely needed this win after dropping five in a row," Wilson said.

Jose Macias doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth and reached third before Mesa retired the final two batters.

Giants 13, Rockies 7

DENVER - San Francisco's Barry Bonds hit his 673rd career homer and Jason Schmidt won his seventh straight decision. A.J. Pierzynski and Dustan Mohr each hit a three-run homer and Neifi Perez also connected for the Giants.

Luis Gonzalez led off the seventh with his fifth homer of the year, ending a five-game homerless stretch for Colorado. Todd Helton hit a two-run homer in the eighth and Jeromy Burnitz added a solo shot two batters later for his 15th of the year. Vinny Castilla hit his 15th of the season in the ninth.

Marlins 5, Mets 1

NEW YORK - Hee Seop Choi hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, Miguel Cabrera had three hits and Florida ended a four-game losing streak. Carl Pavano (5-2) allowed six hits over 7 2/3 innings and retired 12 straight during one stretch.

Phillies 9, Braves 1

ATLANTA - Bobby Abreu and Mike Lieberthal homered to back seven impressive innings by Eric Milton, and Philadelphia ended a four-game losing streak. Milton (7-1) held the Braves scoreless after the first inning, allowing just one earned run and five hits overall. The left-hander struck out five and walked two.

Cardinals 5, Astros 3

ST. LOUIS - Scott Rolen snapped a fifth-inning tie with a two-run single, giving him a major league-leading 57 RBI for St. Louis. The Cardinals have won five in a row.

Houston's Jeff Kent homered to extend his hitting streak to 19 games.

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NL: Mixed news: Prior great, Cubs lose

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