Home sweet for Cubs
No longer an opposing player hearing hoots from the bleachers—he once played for the division-rival Pirates as well as two other NL teams—Nady got an earful of cheers Monday, helping the Chicago Cubs win their home opener.
A Cubs’ newcomer, Nady hit one of three Chicago homers in a power display for new owner Tom Ricketts that led to a 9-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
“You just hope to go out and play the game the right way,” Nady said. “It’s a wonderful place to play.”
And the sounds were different and the cheers resounding, especially after his homer sparked a five-run third inning.
“Usually it’s not like that when I’m out there,” he said.
Ricketts, the longtime fan whose family took over the team in October, joined his two brothers and sister to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch.
A crowd of 41,306 turned out at Wrigley Field on a 58-degree afternoon and watched the Cubs rush to an 8-1 lead.
“We’ve been to a handful of pretty cold opening days, but this opening day is going to be the one I’ll remember forever,” Ricketts said.
How much affect did the Ricketts and all the renovations they’ve made—like a new weight room, kitchen and players lounge—have?
“Obviously what they’ve already done for us with the amenities inside the clubhouse—whether it’s the kitchen or the weight room or the lounge—is very generous. It obviously makes you very comfortable as a player,” Nady said.
Manager Lou Piniella appreciated the changes, as well.
“I don’t think they got any base hits, but it’s nice and positive to see ownership here supporting the team and rooting for the team,” Piniella said. “And being supportive like they are. It’s good to see.”
Nady hit a three-run homer in the third after singles by Marlon Byrd and Derrek Lee. Alfonso Soriano then singled and Baker cleared the left-field bleachers for a 5-0 lead against Doug Davis (0-1), who had his second straight shaky start.
“I just gave in a couple times when the timing wasn’t right. I didn’t make the pitches when I had to,” Davis said. “The three-run home run and not keeping your team in the game, that’s the most frustrating part. ... Two pitches cost me five runs. I thought I was doing well up to that point. Two pitches weren’t catchable.”
Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said it’s time for Davis to pitch the way he’s capable, even if it is early.
“If we get a quality start here today, we’ve got a chance of winning that game,” Macha said.“Doug’s just been off his game his first two starts. He has in the past given us quality starts. That’s why we got him.”
Ramirez hit a two-run shot off Claudio Vargas in the fourth, giving Ryan Dempster (1-0) a big cushion.
Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer and an RBI single for the Brewers.
n Brewers right-handed pitcher Jeff Suppan threw a bullpen session Sunday and should come off the DL (cervical disc pain) to start Thursday’s game, manager Ken Macha said.