NL Tarp Tale: Cubs win! Smooches for everyone!

Each morning, David Brown takes a look at the games of the day just past. Today, he begins his NL swing in Wrigleyville, where third base coach Mike Quade appears to be butchering the traditional Japanese greeting ...

Cubs 6, Brewers 3

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)

Reds 3, D-Backs 2Hey, 22. The Cueto gold, the fine Do-min-i-can, is how Steely Dan might sing it after Johnny Cueto's 10-strikeout, 1-hit debut.

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 0Brad 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!

Padres 3, Astros 2 — Sun sets again after taking a night off; Trevor Hoffman now has 526 more saves than most other people on the planet.

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, 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.


Fantasy Freaks

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)


Fantasy Flakes

Ryan Zimmerman (Nats): 0-for-6

Matt Holliday (Rockies): Batting .100

Mark Teixeira (Braves): 0-for-5, batting .105


Big Talker

“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.

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