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NL: Chicago's Prior wins duel

©Associated Press
April 10, 2003

CHICAGO -- Now this is Mark Prior's idea of fun.

Matching pitch for pitch, strikeout for strikeout, he and Javier Vazquez got into an old-fashioned pitcher's duel Wednesday afternoon. Only one bad pitch separated them, but that was all Prior needed to get his first major-league shutout.

"It was a lot of fun," Prior said after the Cubs' 3-0 victory over the Montreal Expos. "All around, it was a good day."

Even the Expos agreed.

"This is baseball at its best: Playing at Wrigley Field, two good pitchers on the mound throwing toe-to-toe," Expos catcher Michael Barrett said. "Unfortunately we were at the losing end, but it was still just a great game to be a part of."

That it was.

Prior and Vazquez combined for 26 strikeouts and walked none.

Prior scattered four hits and struck out 12 for the second complete game of his career, retiring 16 straight at one point. His only extra-base hit was a double by Orlando Cabrera in the seventh.

Vazquez struck out a career-high 14 in seven innings, striking out two in every inning but the fifth. He scattered five hits over seven innings.

But one hit was a first-pitch, two-run homer by Damian Miller, and that decided the game.

"I made a mistake to Damian Miller, and that was probably the game right there because Prior was lights out today," Vazquez said. "He controlled the whole game."

Prior added an insurance run in the eighth, faking a bunt then swinging away for a run-scoring single.

"Mark certainly pitched like a champion today," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "That was one of the best performances by a young man I've ever seen."

PHILLIES 16, BRAVES 2: Greg Maddux was hit hard for the third straight start, and Pat Burrell and Jim Thome each homered twice and drove in five runs for host Philadelphia.

Maddux (0-3) is off to his worst start since 1989, when he also lost his first three decisions for the Cubs.

Maddux gave up 10 runs, seven earned, and 12 hits in 52/3 innings. He struck out seven, but walked three and made a throwing error, a rare mistake for the Gold Glove winner.

The four-time Cy Young winner has allowed 18 earned runs and 30 hits in 142/3 innings, leaving him with an 11.05 ERA.

Burrell homered twice off Maddux. Thome hit his first two home runs for the Phillies, connecting both times off rookie reliever Joey Dawley.

Phillies starter Vicente Padilla allowed 10 hits in seven innings, struck out nine and had no walks.

GIANTS 15, PADRES 11: Pedro Feliz had a career-high four hits as San Francisco won the highest-scoring game at 3-year-old Pacific Bell Park.

The first inning featured 11 runs. The Giants' first seven batters scored against Dennis Tankersley, called up from the minors to make an emergency start.

The 26 runs surpassed the 22 of June 26, 2001, a 14-8 Dodgers win.

There were 31 hits, 16 by San Francisco. There was not a 1-2-3 inning until the top of the sixth.

Yorvit Torrealba drove in three runs for the defending NL champions and Jose Cruz doubled. Cruz has hit safely in all nine games with his new team.

DODGERS 5, D'BACKS 2: Darren Dreifort pitched six strong innings to earn his first victory in almost 22 months, and Shawn Green homered and drove in three runs for host Los Angeles.

The win was the third in four games for the Dodgers. Luis Gonzalez hit his third homer in three games for the Diamondbacks, who have lost six of seven.

Dreifort allowed two runs and six hits while walking four and striking out three in his first win since June 12, 2001.

ROCKIES 9, CARDINALS 4: Larry Walker and Preston Wilson each drove in three runs as host Colorado built a big early lead against St. Louis.

Wilson and Bobby Estalella each hit two-run homers as Colorado opened a 9-0 lead after three innings.

Nelson Cruz went six-plus innings for the Rockies, allowing two runs and five hits before he was ejected.

Cruz was tossed in the seventh after hitting Tino Martinez with a pitch. Cruz plunked Jim Edmonds earlier, and a warning was issued after Brett Tomko threw a pitch behind Todd Helton in the third.

BREWERS 3, PIRATES 2: Geoff Jenkins, playing for the first time since tearing up his right ankle last season, hit a two-run homer to support Todd Ritchie's strong start for visiting Milwaukee.

The Brewers won their second straight after an 0-6 start.

It was a comeback night for Ritchie, who ended a nearly yearlong road losing streak, and Jenkins, who spent months in rehabilitation after tearing ligaments inside and outside his dislocated ankle June 17 in Milwaukee.

Jenkins came off the disabled list earlier in the day.

MARLINS 3, METS 2: Ivan Rodriguez homered and drove home the winning run with a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth for host Florida.

Rodriguez made the key defensive play, too. After Armando Almanza hit Mo Vaughn with a pitch to start the ninth, pinch-runner Joe McEwing was picked off first by Rodriguez.

Marlins closer Braden Looper struck out the only two batters he faced for the win.

ASTROS 4, REDS 3: Jeff Kent hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh for host Houston.

Brad Lidge, who replaced starter Wade Miller in the seventh, went two scoreless innings for his second major-league victory.

Billy Wagner worked the ninth for his second save.

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