Fukudome sets career high with five hits
All singles for Cubs leadoff hitter, who turns 34 Tuesday
CHICAGO -- Kosuke Fukudome celebrated his 34th birthday a day early.
Fukudome set a career high with his first five-hit game Monday night in the Cubs' 5-3 loss to the Rockies.
"It is actually my birthday in Japan with the time difference, so that's my gift," said Fukudome, who will officially celebrate his birthday in the U.S. on Tuesday.
He singled to lead off the first, singled with one out in the second, singled to open the fourth, singled with a runner at first in the sixth, and singled with two outs in the eighth. The Cubs outhit the Rockies, 11-4, and so did Fukudome, who had nearly half of them.
"After the game, I told him congrats on the big night," Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said. "It's tough to do -- 5-for-5. Shoot, going 1-for-1 is tough."
Fukudome's previous single-game high was four hits, done three times, most recently June 20, 2009, against Cleveland.
With his big night, Fukudome extended his hitting streak to eight games and is batting .567 during the stretch. He is two games shy of matching his career-high 10-game hitting streak, set July 17-28, 2009.
He is now batting .347 in the first month of the baseball season in his career. What is it about April?
"It's my birthday month," Fukudome said.
"I'm going to put an April calendar in his locker every month for the rest of the year," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "I'm real optimistic that this will continue. Do I think he's Ted Williams? Probably not. But he's fun to watch and doing a great job."
Fukudome's personal high came one year to the day since the last Cubs player posted a five-hit game. Ryan Theriot did so April 25, 2010, against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.