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First start of season a success for Prior; Wood rocked

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mark Prior was a success in his season debut,
while Kerry Wood struggled again.

Prior pitched six shutout innings in his first game of the
season and Derrek Lee had five RBIs, leading the Chicago Cubs over
the San Diego Padres 8-3 Wednesday for a doubleheader split.

Wood gave up three home runs in the opener, including one to
Geoff Blum leading off the game, as the Padres won 8-3.

Prior (1-0) made just one start in spring training and went on
the disabled list due to right elbow inflammation. He got hit hard
last week in a minor league rehabilitation start but, backed by a
quick 7-0 lead Wednesday, he allowed four hits, struck out six and
walked one, throwing 92 pitches.

"I wanted to go out there and throw strikes," Prior said. "I
had good down angle on the ball, throwing my fastballs down in the
zone pretty good. I was happy with the command I did have on my
fastball. Even the first three or four pitches of the game, I threw
it right where I wanted."

Fans, some of whom booed Wood in the opener, cheered loudly for
Prior, whose start was delayed a day by Tuesday's rainout.

"It was kind of a nice, little welcome back to the season,"
Prior said. "It was pretty cool."

Prior also started the four-run second with a single up the
middle, scoring off Corey Patterson's RBI single. He added another
single in the third inning.

While Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he was grateful for his
offensive contributions, he was mostly glad to see Prior on the
mound.

"You're always concerned when a guy hasn't pitched very much,"
Baker said. "He had good command, good tempo. His mechanics looked
good."

Brian Lawrence (0-2) gave up seven runs and nine hits in 2 2/3
innings.

Lee hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and Chicago's
runs in the second came on Patterson's RBI single, Lee's sacrifice
fly, a run-scoring wild pitch and Jeromy Burnitz's run-scoring
single.

"I hit it pretty good," Lee said of his homer. "The key to
that was to keep it low because the wind was blowing in pretty
hard."

Neifi Perez went 6-for-9 in the doubleheader, all singles. Perez
started at second base in the first game and at shortstop in the
second.

Prior said endurance was only a factor when he zipped around
from first to third on Jerry Hairston's double in the third.

"I got a little winded out there running first to third," he
said. "I haven't done that since college."

While Prior said he's not "100 percent" yet, that's news to
the Padres.

"He threw very well," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "We
didn't get much going off him. It didn't look like he was coming
off rehab."

In the opener, Wood gave up four fast runs.

"I've got to figure something out in the first inning," he
said. "The last two times I've pitched, the first inning has been
kind of rough."

Brian Giles and Ryan Klesko also homered off Wood (0-1), who
wound up allowing seven runs, one of them unearned. He needed 51
pitches to get through the first two innings and threw 112 by the
time he left after Klesko's drive with two outs in the seventh.

"Early on he didn't have a feel for his breaking ball," Cubs
manager Dusty Baker said. "There's no need for concern. He settled
down after that first inning and found his release point. … I'm
sure he'll be better the next time out."

Jake Peavy (1-0) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings,
striking out seven and walking one.

"He came through with seven solid innings," Bochy said.
"That's what you want in the first game of a doubleheader."

Blum also homered leading off the ninth against left-hander
Cliff Bartosh, the third time he homered from both sides of the
plate in one game. Xavier Nady went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles
for the Padres, tying a career high for hits.

Peavy, who blanked Pittsburgh for 6 2/3 innings in his first
start, gave up his first runs of the season in the fourth when
Patterson homered and Burnitz hit a sacrifice fly. With the bases
loaded and two outs, Peavy struck out Todd Hollandsworth.

After Blum's first homer, Wood loaded the bases by hitting Mark
Loretta in the hip with a pitch, then walking Giles and Klesko on a
total of nine pitches. Phil Nevin hit an RBI grounder, Ramon
Hernandez had an RBI single and Nady hit a dribbler to Wood, who
threw wildly to first as another run scored.

Giles homered in the second for a 5-0 lead and had a sacrifice
fly in the seventh before Klesko's homer.

Game notes
Blum homered from both sides on July 5, 2001, for Montreal
against Florida and last May 4, 2004, with Tampa Bay at Texas. It
was his fourth career multihomer game and also his first time
leading off a game with a homer. ... Barrett threw out his third
runner of the series, getting Klesko at second base in the fifth
inning of the first game. ... Mike Fontenot made his major league
debut for the Cubs, pinch running and scoring in the ninth inning
of the opener. He pinch hit and walked in the seventh inning of the
second game. ... Patterson has a nine-game hitting streak, the
first for the Cubs at the start of the season since Brian McRae in
1996.