Series: Game 1 of 4

Chi Cubs leads 1-0 (as of 6/14)

Game 1: Monday, June 14
Chi Cubs7Final
Game 2: Tuesday, June 15
Chi Cubs4Final
Game 3: Wednesday, June 16
Chi Cubs4Final
Game 4: Thursday, June 17
Chi Cubs5Final

Cubs 7

(34-29, 16-15 away)

Astros 2

(33-29, 15-14 home)

8:05 PM ET, June 14, 2004

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

123456789 R H E
CHC 001121002 7 12 0
HOU 000000002 2 10 0

W: M. Prior (1-1)

L: R. Clemens (9-1)

S: J. Anderson (1)

Clemens gets first loss; Prior goes five

HOUSTON (AP) -- Mark Prior, Todd Walker and the Chicago Cubs finally made Roger Clemens look his age.

Prior pitched five shutout innings in his third start since coming off the DL and Todd Walker homered twice, ending Clemens' unbeaten streak at 13 games with a 7-2 win over the Houston Astros on Monday night.

How Mark Prior and Roger Clemens fared in their matchup on Monday:
Prior 5 5 0 8 0
Clemens 6 10 5 6 2

A highly anticipated pitching duel between one of the game's most enduring stars and one of its newest was surprisingly lopsided in favor of the Cubs' 23-year-old All-Star.

"Going against someone that's going into the Hall of Fame ... it was just nice to beat him," Prior said. "It's pretty special because he doesn't give up many runs."

Prior (1-1) allowed only five hits and struck out eight, denying his childhood idol a chance to become the first pitcher in the big leagues with 10 wins. The 41-year-old Clemens also could have become the first Astro to start the season 10-0 since Juan Agosto in 1988.

Clemens hadn't lost since Sept. 6, 2003 against Boston, back when he was with the New York Yankees.

Walker went 4-for-5 with homers in the sixth and ninth and a triple in the third. He also scored four runs. The Cubs' second baseman is now 14-for-29 in his last six games after going 0-for-13 in his previous four.

Aramis Ramirez and Moises Alou also homered, handing the Astros their third loss in four games.

Houston, the NL's top-hitting team, has failed to score more than five runs in a game since a 7-1 win over St. Louis on May 30. That's a stretch of 13 games.

The Astros' problems were compounded by the loss of shortstop Adam Everett, who left the game in the first inning after straining his left hamstring while running out an infield single.

Aramis Ramirez


Aramis Ramirez had two hits, including a solo home run, for the Cubs.

"Offensively we stink right now," Houston catcher Brad Ausmus said. "We do need to expect more of our offense right now."

The Cubs showed no weariness following Sunday's 15-inning thriller against the Anaheim Angels, a 6-5 victory that took 5 hours, 8 minutes to complete.

Chicago was helped by Clemens (9-1) struggling throughout the night, giving up five runs on a season-high 10 hits. He had six strikeouts but didn't appear to have any zip on his normally fearsome fastball and slider.

"I was just battling all night," Clemens said. "You're going to have a tough outing like this once in a while."

The Rocket opened the fifth by allowing two singles and a walk, loading the bases with no outs. Ramirez then singled in Todd Walker and Derrek Lee followed with an RBI single to score Martinez and give Chicago a 4-0 lead.

Clemens worked his way out of that jam, but promptly gave up a homer to Walker in the sixth that gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead. He was replaced by reliever Kirk Bullinger to start the seventh.

Meanwhile, Prior bounced back nicely from a rough outing in his second start of the season, when he gave up five runs on five hits with five walks in 3 2-3 innings in a 12-4 loss to St. Louis.

He looked as sharp as ever in this one, his third start after missing the first two months of the season with Achilles' tendinitis.

Prior struck out four of the first five batters he faced and didn't allow a runner past first base until Jose Vizcaino's double in the fourth. He retired the side in order in the fifth.

After Lance Berkman doubled deep to centerfielder in the sixth, Prior departed to a smattering of applause from a small contingent of rowdy Cubs fans. Jimmy Anderson replaced him and went the final four innings for his first save.

"That was a great performance by Mark Prior," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He had everything but endurance and stamina. We're gonna keep him on a pitch count until he can build up his stamina some."

Ramon Martinez's two-out single off Clemens in the third scored Todd Walker for the game's first run and Ramirez led off the fourth with a homer that just sailed over the right-field fence, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

From there, the frustration started to show for the Astros.

Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell, moved from third to fifth in the lineup after hitting .209 on a 12-game road trip, flung a Gatorade cooler in the dugout during the game. Bagwell went 0-for-4 on Monday, striking out twice.

Brad Ausmus hit an RBI double in the ninth and scored on Craig Biggio's single.

Game notes

Astros RF Richard Hidalgo missed his third straight start with a sore neck. He hurt it making a diving catch. Hidalgo pinch-hit in the seventh, hitting into a double play. The Astros also were missing 3B Mike Lamb, who went home to California on Monday for a family funeral. ... Clemens has drawn five sellout crowds to his seven home starts. Houston has had five other sellouts this season for a total of 10, three more than the Astros had in 81 home games last season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press