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Baker’s Return to Bay Has Testy Finale

May 2, 2003

Dusty Baker is glad his first series against the San Francisco Giants is over. Maybe the feud between Barry Bonds and Mark Prior is just starting.

Alex Gonzalez hit his first two homers of the season, including a three-run shot with two outs in the 10th inning, to lift the Chicago Cubs over San Francisco 5-1 on Thursday.

Sammy Sosa followed with his 505th career homer, and the NL Central leaders took two of three from Baker’s former team.

``I’m tired,″ the Chicago manager said. ``Ready to get on a plane. There’s no way to overstate it. That was a big series for us. ... It’s special to win because I really don’t like all that attention focused on me. My players played. I know it’s hard to win here _ I was here.″

The series got testy at the end.

Both benches emptied in the third inning after Prior plunked Bonds in the upper right leg with a curveball. Bonds, hit twice Tuesday on breaking pitches by Kerry Wood, began walking to the mound and Prior motioned him on as they exchanged words. No punches were thrown.

``I’m sure it could have gotten heated. I wasn’t going to back down from him at all,″ Prior said. ``Just because he’s got 15-20 years in the big leagues and 600 homers and I have been in the league a little under a year doesn’t mean I have to stop doing what makes me a professional.″

In other NL games, it was: Atlanta 8, Houston 7; Montreal 5, Milwaukee 0; St. Louis 6, New York 5 in 10 innings; Cincinnati 7, Colorado 2; Pittsburgh 5, San Diego 2; Florida 4, Arizona 3; and Philadelphia 4, Los Angeles 1.

Baker spoke with Bonds for several moments, telling him the pitch wasn’t intentional. Plate umpire Marvin Hudson issued warnings to both teams.

Bonds walked off when asked about it after the game. The Giants and Cubs play again July 29-31 at Wrigley Field.

Chicago went ahead in the 10th after an error by third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo put two runners on with two outs. Gonzalez connected off Tim Worrell (1-1), and Sosa’s shot made it 5-1.

It was an especially sweet victory for Baker, managing his first series in San Francisco since leading the Giants to the World Series last season. That wasn’t enough to patch up problems with owner Peter Magowan, however, and Baker left last November.

``I had a lot of family and support here,″ he said. ``A lot of people were probably mixed between us winning and the home team winning.″

Juan Cruz (1-0) pitched two perfect innings for the win.

Braves 8, Astros 7

At Houston, pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa came through with a tiebreaking, two-run homer off Billy Wagner (1-2) in the ninth inning, and Atlanta finished a three-game sweep.

Andruw Jones also hit a two-run homer for the Braves, who have won five in a row, seven straight on the road and 14 of 16 overall following a 4-8 start. John Smoltz got his 11th save in 11 tries this season and 27th in a row dating to last season.

Lance Berkman, breaking out of a season-long slump, tied a career high with six RBIs for Houston, including a three-run homer off former Astros pitcher Shane Reynolds.

Cardinals 6, Mets 5, 10 innings

At St. Louis, Jim Edmonds homered off Scott Strickland (0-2) in the 10th inning as the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep.

The NL Central champions won the first two games 13-3 and 13-4. New York has lost five in a row and is 11-17 overall, last in the NL East, despite a $117 million payroll.

Rey Sanchez had four hits for the Mets, who rallied from a 5-1 deficit. St. Louis starter Brett Tomko hit a two-run double and Scott Rolen had a three-run double.

Expos 5, Brewers 0

At Milwaukee, Zach Day (3-1) threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout as Montreal finished a three-game sweep.

Michael Barrett and Brad Wilkerson homered for the Expos (18-10), who have won six of seven and are eight games over .500 for the first time since May 23, 2000. Montreal leads the majors with six shutouts.

Milwaukee (9-19) has the NL’s worst record and has lost eight of nine.

Reds 7, Rockies 2

At Denver, Jeff Austin (1-1) took a two-hit shutout into the seventh inning in his second career start, and Aaron Boone and Jose Guillen each hit a two-run homer for Cincinnati.

The Reds won for the sixth time in eight games and posted their third straight series victory. All seven of their runs came with two outs. Boone had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs.

Pirates 5, Padres 2

At San Diego, Jack Wilson hit a three-run homer off Jake Peavy (4-2) and Kip Wells (1-1) pitched into the eighth to win for the first time in six starts as Pittsburgh completed a three-game sweep.

The Pirates came into the series having scored just 11 runs in five straight losses, then outscored the Padres 20-9. San Diego lost its fifth consecutive game.

Marlins 4, Diamondbacks 3

At Phoenix, Brian Banks hit his first homer of the season leading off the eighth inning for Florida.

Phillies 4, Dodgers 1

At Los Angeles, Bobby Abreu and Mike Lieberthal homered off Hideo Nomo (3-4) to back a solid outing by Brandon Duckworth (2-1). Four Philadelphia relievers combined for four scoreless innings.

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