Tinker toys: Ryan Dempster started, Kerry Wood finished for his first career save and the Cubs offense did its job — with Alfonso Soriano again cradled in the leadoff spot — to avoid a season-opening, three-game series sweep.
Gaijin, schmijin: Kosuke Fukudome is batting .500 over 3 games after going 1-for-2 with 2 runs, 2 walks and his first major league stolen base.
Go, Canada: Dempster, who saved 85 games since his previous start in 2005, allowed 1 earned run and 3 hits over 6 innings.
Rundown feelin' (Thursday's other scores)
Phillies 8, Nationals 7 — J-Roll's baserunning smarts and hustle overcame 4 Philly errors, 14 stranded runners and the collective hit the crowd put out on the home team. Todd Zolecki in the Phillies Zone calls the win a turning point, then takes it back.
Cardinals 3, Rockies 0 — Brad Thompson. Sounds like the name of a kid who picked on you in fifth grade, but he's really a swingman for the Cards, and he struck out six Rockies. Mom, that Brad Thompson took my lunch money again!
Pirates 4, Braves 3 — Lefty Mike Hampton, who has not pitched since 2005, is on the DL again. This is the final season of his legendary 8-year, $121-million deal with the Rockies. Think the Braves will pick up the $20 million option for 2009? If not, Colorado has to start playing Hampton's $20 million signing bonus! With interest, it comes to nearly $22 million by 2018 (if man is still alive). Thanks, mlb4u.com for this frightening fiduciary info.
Picture of the Day: If only the Falcons had such form
Other media outlets might hesitate to glorify this man, who ran out onto the field in extra innings during last night's Pirates-Braves game. But not us.
Johnny Cueto (Reds): 7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 Ks
Brad Thompson (Cardinals): 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Lance Berkman (Astros): 0-for-4, SB (his second, and off a lefty)
Ryan Zimmerman (Nats): 0-for-6
Matt Holliday (Rockies): Batting .100
Mark Teixeira (Braves): 0-for-5, batting .105
“The guys on the bench were saying they haven’t seen anything like this in a long time.” – Reds manager Dusty Baker, on Cueto's first game in the majors.
- Brad Thompson