Series: Game 1 of 3

Chi Cubs leads 1-0 (as of 9/13)

Game 1: Monday, September 13
Chi Cubs7
Game 2: Tuesday, September 14
in 12
Chi Cubs3
Game 3: Wednesday, September 15
Chi Cubs13

Pirates 2

(66-78, 30-43 away)

Cubs 7

(77-64, 41-32 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 13, 2004

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    PIT 000000020 2 8 3
    CHC 50001001 - 7 7 0

    W: G. Maddux (14-9)

    L: F. Brooks (0-1)

    Cubs a half-game back in wild-card

    CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs made Frank Brooks' first major league start one to forget.

    Sammy Sosa homered for the first time in more than two weeks as part of a five-run first inning, and Derrek Lee had three RBI in Chicago's 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

    "It's tough to have a game plan because you don't know what you have," Lee said of facing a new pitcher. "It's basically go by feel. We just attacked him."

    Moises Alou and Neifi Perez also homered for the Cubs, who pulled within a half-game of idle San Francisco in the NL wild-card race.

    Brooks had been 0-0 with a 0.93 ERA in six relief appearances for the Pirates. But he lasted only one inning as a starter, allowing four earned runs, three hits and a walk.

    "Obviously, it wasn't that good of an outing when you only go one inning," Brooks said. "I was expecting to go at least five innings, keep us in the game and give us a chance to win. But that's not how it went."

    Things went sour quickly as Perez, the Cubs' second batter who isn't known for his power, homered to left on a 3-2 pitch. Brooks (0-1) then walked Aramis Ramirez and Alou hit what should have been a routine grounder to shortstop Jack Wilson.

    But Wilson bobbled the catch and made another error with a wild throw to first, allowing Ramirez to go to third and Alou to second. Lee drove both home with a single to left, giving Chicago a 3-0 lead.

    "We would have been out of the inning if Jack throws that cleanly. It's probably a double play," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "But you still need to make pitches."

    The Cubs weren't done with Brooks, either. Sosa sent a 1-0 pitch deep into the left-field stands for a two-run homer, his first since Aug. 26. It was Sosa's 30th homer of the season, giving him 10 straight years with 30 or more.

    Brooks finally got out of the inning when Mark Grudzielanek grounded out and Paul Bako struck out. But the five-run lead was more than enough support for Greg Maddux (14-9). Maddux, making his 600th career start, scattered five hits over seven scoreless innings, striking out two while walking just one.

    "He's tough when you give him a lead like that," McClendon said. "I'm sure he hasn't lost many when he gets a five-run lead."

    The Pirates did have their chances, putting runners in scoring position four times against Maddux. But the Cubs defense was especially stingy -- Grudzielanek saved a run with a diving, two-out catch in the third with men at first and third -- and Pittsburgh couldn't bring any of the runners home.

    "The defense was tremendous," Maddux said. "Everybody was making some nice plays. Sometimes when you throw it down the middle, they hit it hard and it goes right at somebody. That happened a lot tonight."

    The Pirates finally ended the shutout in the eighth inning. Jason Kendall and Wilson singled, and Daryle Ward followed with a liner to left. Alou had the ball in his mitt, but it bounced back out like a super ball, allowing Kendall and Wilson to score.

    "Tonight was a good night," Lee said. "It seems like we have a couple of good games and then a bad one. So we've got to find a way to eliminate the bad ones and stay on a roll."

    Game notes

    Alou's homer in the eighth was his 35th, three shy of his career high. ... Pirates rookie Jason Bay stole second in the eighth, his third steal of the season. ... Wilson had gone 34 games without an error before making a wild throw Sunday night. ... Cubs reliever Kent Mercker began serving his suspension for yelling at an umpire after it was reduced from three games to two Monday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press