Chicago (64-60) at San Francisco (55-71)

Partly Cloudy Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 47° F
  • Game info: 10:15 pm EDT Wed Aug 22, 2007
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The Chicago Cubs are anxiously waiting for Alfonso Soriano to rejoin to the lineup. Cliff Floyd’s return already has paid off.

Floyd and the Cubs continue a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.

Floyd was away from the team for nine days dealing with the death of his father, but returned Tuesday to hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the ninth inning as Chicago (64-60) rallied for a 5-1 win over the Giants (55-71). It was Floyd’s only hit in four at-bats.

“Coming back and helping the team my first game is a great feeling,” said Floyd, who is hitting .290 with 38 RBIs in 80 games. “Usually I get a little anxious. For some reason today I felt really calm.”

San Francisco took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Ryan Klesko’s RBI groundout, and Tim Lincecum held Chicago scoreless through eight innings before the game unraveled.

Derrek Lee drove in Ryan Theriot to tie the game, and two batters later, Floyd singled off Brad Hennessey to score Jacque Jones and Lee.

“Floyd gets a big hit,” manager Lou Piniella said. “Cliff had to really feel good about that. I’m happy for him. It should lift his spirits. I told him before the game, ‘Cliff, we need you.’”

Barry Bonds returned to the lineup after two days off. His career record remained at 760 career home runs, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout and his 37th intentional walk.

The Cubs have won four of five and remain tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the NL Central.

Chicago also is feeling optimistic about Soriano’s return following his Tuesday workout. Sidelined since Aug. 5, Soriano told the Cubs’ official Web site he thought he’d be ready to return to the lineup this weekend from a strained right quad, although Piniella said he isn’t willing to risk further injury.

“I think the fact that he’s taking batting practice, it’s got his blood flowing, but one more setback and the whole season is gone,” Piniella said. “I talked to the trainer and we’re still clinging to the first of September, Labor Day weekend scenario.”

Soriano is batting .297, is tied for the team lead with 18 homers and has scored a team-high 74 runs.

The Cubs will hand the ball Wednesday to Rich Hill (7-7, 3.73 ERA), who is coming off his first win in nearly a month. He gave up one run and three hits in seven innings of a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

“It’s not what happened in the past, it’s what’s happening right now,” Hill told the Cubs’ official Web site.

Hill hadn’t won in six starts since beating San Francisco on July 16, when he gave up two runs and four hits in eight innings of a 3-2 victory. He is 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts against the Giants.

San Francisco will counter with Barry Zito (9-11, 4.88), who pitched one of his best games of the season Friday against Florida. He allowed one hit in seven innings of a 3-0 win, matching a season high with eight strikeouts.

Zito, who joined the Giants in December when he signed a $126 million, seven-year contract, was winless in his previous three starts. He is 3-6 with a 6.01 ERA in his last 13 starts.

“It has to be tough being in his position, with the expectations,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I think he’s dealing with it as well as you can.”

Zito is trying to win at least 10 starts for the seventh straight season. He hasn’t had fewer than 11 victories in any season since finishing his 2000 rookie year with seven.

Zito is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against the Cubs. He allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings against them on July 17 in a 4-2 win.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Hill NYY vs. B. Zito SF
11-8 Record 11-13
3.92 ERA 4.53
183 K 131
63 BB 83
1.19 WHIP 1.35

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 22