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Hall of an opener

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Associated Press
April 4, 2008
— Bill Hall spent the bus ride back from Wrigley Field watching video footage on a laptop computer and talking to teammates, eventually coming up with a subtle swing adjustment that paid off right away.

Hall homered twice and had a career-high six RBIs to help the Milwaukee Brewers beat the San Francisco Giants 13-4 in their home opener Friday. It was the third career two-homer game for Hall, who didn’t hit a home run during spring training.


„I wasn’t worried about not hitting home runs in spring training and exhibition games,“ Hall said. „I’ve never seen those stats on the back of anybody’s baseball card.“


The Brewers’ bats seemed to all thaw out at once after taking two of three games from the Cubs in a chilly season-opening series.


„It was too cold in Chicago,“ said Rickie Weeks, who set a franchise record and tied a modern-day National League record by scoring a run in his 17th straight game dating to last season.


Prince Fielder went 3-for-4, scored three runs and finished with three RBIs, and Gabe Kapler drove in a pair of runs. Manager Ned Yost said the Brewers’ home debut couldn’t have gone much better.


„Our fans have been hearing a lot about our team this spring, and I think, generated a lot of excitement,“ Yost said. „They had a good chance to see what they’ll be rooting for all summer long.“


The Giants, in their first season following the forced departure of Barry Bonds, have lost three of their first four games.


„We’re not the type of team that can slug with the other clubs, especially this one,“ Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. „They can put a crooked number on the board, which they did quickly. It’s important we do keep it close.“


Carlos Villanueva (1-0) tied a career high with six strikeouts, going 5 1-3 innings. He held the Giants scoreless until the sixth, when he gave up two runs and Brian Shouse relieved. Villanueva was hoping to go deeper into the game, but managed to keep his frustration in check.


„It could have been a lot worse,“ Villanueva said. „Just sit down, calm down, and enjoy our offensive day.“


Salomon Torres pitched three innings for his first save.


San Francisco starter Jonathan Sanchez (0-1) set a career high with eight strikeouts. But it wasn’t much of a day otherwise for Sanchez, who gave up seven runs in four-plus innings. In two career starts at Miller Park, Sanchez has given up a total of 15 earned runs in six innings.


„I threw two (bad) pitches,“ Sanchez said. „It wasn’t bad, but it’ll get better.“


Fielder’s RBI single and Hall’s homer put Milwaukee ahead 3-0 in the first.


In the Brewers’ five-run fifth, Hall crushed his second homer of the game near the base of the steel tower where Milwaukee mascot „Bernie Brewer“ glides down a slide to celebrate home runs.


Hall acknowledged the crowd with a curtain call – then added an RBI single in the following inning as the Brewers put up another five runs.


Hall said it all went back to the adjustment he made after the watching video and talking to Fielder and Joe Dillon on the bus ride back from Chicago on Thursday. Hall figured out that his hands were getting too low when he cocked his body into the „launch“ position as he prepared to swing.


„I saw what I was doing wrong, and I corrected it today,“ Hall said. „The results were pretty much immediate.“



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