Extra Work Pays Off

For the second time in four games, several Cubs hitters took extra batting practice more than four hours before game time Friday, and it paid off. The Cubs put six runs on the board in the first inning against the Brewers and won 9-3 at Miller Park.

"We worked for an hour and had seven or eight guys hitting," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "And we worked a bit on our outfield play. We want to see if we could get a couple of these guys going with the bats. From time to time, we'll ask some hitters to take extra hitting on the road. It's hard to do it at Wrigley Field during day games."

The Cubs hitters enjoyed their most successful outburst of the year, tagging Milwaukee pitcher Dave Bush for six runs on six hits.

Mark DeRosa homered in the first inning while Alfonso Soriano, Cliff Floyd and Cesar Izturis added doubles in the frame.

The Cubs scored just seven runs in a three-game series against Cincinnati, and Piniella said he was hoping that playing in the domed setting at Miller Park would help his hitters.

CUBS 9, BREWERS 3: The Cubs tagged pitcher Dave Bush for six runs on six hits (five for extra bases) in the first inning to give left-handed pitcher Rich Hill some breathing room early. Hill took it from there and retired the first 15 Brewers hitters he faced en route to a seven-inning performance in which he allowed one run on one hit.

--2B Mark DeRosa, who hit just 38 home runs in 1,643 at-bats heading into this season, hit his second home in as many games for the Cubs in the first inning of Friday night's game against Milwaukee.

--C Michael Barrett broke an 0-for-11 skid with an RBI single in the first inning against Milwaukee on Friday night. Barrett is one of the top hitters in the league and hit .307 in 107 games last year before having his season cut short when he was struck in the groin area with a foul ball and suffered an intrascrotal hematoma.

--LHP Rich Hill, who mixed his best pitch -- a curveball -- with a fastball most of the game, tossed in a drop-down slider to get out of the only jam he was in Friday night against Milwaukee. He struck out Prince Fielder with two on to end the sixth inning. Hill gave up one run on one hit in seven innings. Two runners reached base on errors in the team's 9-3 victory over the Brewers.

--OF Alfonso Soriano, who stole 41 bases for Washington last year, was picked off at first base by Cincinnati RHP Kyle Lohse on Thursday. But Soriano made up for it on Friday when he led the game against Milwaukee off with a double to spark a six-run rally.

--RHP Carlos Zambrano, who faces Milwaukee RHP Ben Sheets on Saturday, gave up five runs and walked five in his 2007 debut against Cincinnati. Manager Lou Piniella predicts Zambrano will be much sharper against the Brewers because the skipper felt his ace was over-prepared and tried too hard on Opening Day.

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