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Lieber, Cubs hold Mets to two hits

4/9/2002

CHICAGO (AP) -- Jon Lieber, pitching on seven days' rest, looked
a lot like the guy who won 20 games last season for the Chicago
Cubs.

Lieber allowed two hits over eight innings and the Cubs scored
more than one run for the first time in four games in a 2-0 victory
Tuesday over the New York Mets.

He had not pitched since April 1, Opening Day, because of
scheduled off days and a rainout, yet Lieber allowed only one
runner to reach second base.

"Same Lieber as always," Cubs catcher Joe Girardi said. "He
worked fast and got his defense off the field. That's why we love
playing for him."

Lieber, who walked two and struck out seven in throwing 106
pitches, didn't think his outing was flawless.

"I felt like it took a little bit," Lieber said. "I didn't
feel I had my command until around the third or fourth inning."

After the third, Lieber allowed only a sixth-inning walk to
Roberto Alomar.

"We really couldn't get to him," Mets manager Bobby Valentine
said. "We just couldn't get guys on."

Antonio Alfonseca pitched the ninth for his first save, even
though Lieber (1-0) had five complete games in 2001, when he went
20-5 for the Cubs.

"They didn't hit a ball hard all day," Cubs manager Don Baylor
said, "but when Lieber had 80 pitches in the sixth, I knew
Alfonseca was going to close the game."

Corey Patterson and Augie Ojeda had RBI for the Cubs, who left
15 men on base.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the first, left two on in the
second, had a runner thrown out at home in the third, and could not
score until the fifth.

Delino DeShields led off with a single and scored on Patterson's
RBI double to left. On the play, outfielder Roger Cedeno bobbled
and kicked the ball -- and overthrew the cutoff man -- but no error
was charged.

Patterson said the Cubs had to wait out Steve Trachsel (0-2),
who has a reputation for throwing a lot of pitches -- and doing it
slowly.

"We had to be patient because he's a nibbler," said Patterson,
who went 2-for-4 with a walk. "We waited for him to get the ball
up or out over the plate."

With two outs in the sixth, Trachsel allowed a pair of sharp
two-out singles to Lieber and DeShields. Mark Guthrie replaced
Trachsel, and got Patterson to ground out, giving the Cubs 10
stranded runners through six. They left five more runners in their
last two times up.

"We had some opportunities to break the game open," Baylor
said.

Trachsel allowed a run on seven hits and three walks -- one
intentional -- over 5 2-3 innings. He struck out two.

Kane Davis walked Sammy Sosa and Fred McGriff to start the
seventh, and Alex Gonzalez bunted and reached to load the bases
after Davis threw late to third trying to force Sosa. Ojeda
followed with a sacrifice fly to right for a 2-0 lead.

"A 2-0 lead is a pot o' gold," Baylor said. "

Game notes
Cedeno snuffed out a Chicago scoring chance in the third
when he made a one-hop throw home to get McGriff -- who had reached
second thanks to Cedeno's two-base error. ... On the 43-degree day,
Trachsel threw 103 pitches, 59 for strikes. ... Paid attendance was
18,151, but approximately one-quarter of that many showed. ... New
Bradley men's basketball coach Jim Les sang "Take Me Out to the
Ballgame." ... Mets shortstop Rey Ordonez -- who has a sore left
wrist -- made two errors, giving him four for the season. "We have
to play good defense," Valentine said. "You can't extend these
innings as much as we have."