Cubs 8, Brewers 4
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Randall Simon had fans cheering for him in his return to Miller Park.
Cubs’ fans who made the trip applauded his two-run homer in Saturday night’s 8-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
All spectators in section 112, just beyond first base, cheered when the Brewers announced they would receive free Italian sausages courtesy of the Chicago first baseman.
“Things went fine tonight,” Simon said. “It’s funny, but I think all the people were from Chicago. But the main thing I wanted to get across is that I didn’t want to hurt anybody. I wanted people to realize what kind of person I am. I’m a kind person.”
It was the first game for Simon at Miller Park since July 9, when he used his bat to hit a woman dressed as a sausage during a race.
Since traded to the Cubs, he didn’t play in Friday’s series opener. On Saturday, he was booed in his first plate appearance, then homered in the third. He ended Milwaukee’s sixth with a diving catch of a line drive by Eddie Perez.
Moments later, while Simon was in the Cubs’ dugout, the scoreboard in center field announced the free sausage offer—and that Simon was paying.
“I wanted to make sure people didn’t take it the wrong way,” Simon said, thinking back to the events of July 9.
Simon was cited for disorderly conduct for his actions during the July game. Bond was set at $432, and Simon didn’t challenge it. He forfeited the money Thursday, ending the case.
The sausage offer was suggested to Simon by one of the Cubs’ coaches.
“I think it was an awesome idea,” Simon said. “I think it got me closer to the fans, and it was a nice way of saying, `Thank you and I’m sorry.’ “
Cubs manager Dusty Baker also got a kick out of it.
“At first I thought they said he was buying Italian sausages for everyone in the park,” Baker said.
Mark Prior (15-5) struck out seven in seven innings, becoming the first Chicago pitcher to win seven straight decisions since Kevin Tapani in 1998. Prior allowed three runs and 10 hits.
“I had good stuff,” Prior said. “Mentally, I was awful tonight. Instead of trying to split the plate, I started to try to cut the corners.”
Troy O’Leary, playing for injured Moises Alou, had four RBIs for Chicago, which opened a 5-0 lead in the third and won for the sixth time in seven games. The Cubs remained a half-game behind Houston, winners over San Diego, in the NL Central.
Matt Kinney (10-10) gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings for the Brewers.
“Basically, I made some mental mistakes and put us in a hole,” Kinney said.
The game drew a record crowd of 46,218 to Miller Park. The Brewers have drawn sellouts in consecutive games for the first time since May 18-19 last year, also against the Cubs.
Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the first for the second straight night. Kenny Lofton led off with a triple, Sammy Sosa walked with one out, O’Leary hit a sacrifice fly and Aramis Ramirez had a run-scoring single.
Sosa and O’Leary hit consecutive doubles in the third, and Simon hit his 13th homer, his third since the Cubs acquired him Aug. 16.
“He is a notorious free swinger and you don’t want to throw him anything over the plate,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “(Kinney) threw one right down Broadway.”
Prior allowed only one runner to reach second in the first four innings.
Keith Ginter hit an RBI single in the fifth and hit a two-run homer in the seventh, both coming against Prior.
Richie Sexson made it a one-run game when he hit his 37th homer in the eighth off Dave Veres, activated from the disabled list before the game. Veres had been sidelined since Aug. 22 with right shoulder tendinitis.
“Anytime you face a guy like Mark Prior, you know you’re in trouble if you give up three runs,” Yost said. “We battled back but couldn’t hold them atthe end.”
Kerry Wood (11-11) is scheduled to pitch Sunday for the Cubs against Doug Davis (2-0). … Alou sat out for the second straight game after bruising his left knee Thursday on a foul ball when batting against St. Louis. … Milwaukee RF John Vander Wal hasn’t played since Tuesday, when he left a game against Cincinnati with a strained left groin after one inning. … Milwaukee reserve Enrique Cruz ended his 0-for-24 slump with a single off Prior in the seventh. But he was out when running to second because the ball hit by Podsednik hit him. Ginter’s double followed, but the Brewers managed only onerun.