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04/17/07 12:10 AM ET
Cubs thump Padres despite losing star
Offense erupts after Soriano leaves with strained hamstring
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The Cubs made up for the loss of Alfonso Soriano in a big way. Cliff Floyd, Michael Barrett and Mark DeRosa each homered to back Jason Marquis and power the Cubs to a 12-4 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night, the lion's share of the runs coming after Soriano left the game with a strained left hamstring. Soriano will undergo an MRI exam on Tuesday, and his status is day-to-day. The center fielder was injured when he dove trying to catch Clay Hensley's single with one out and a runner at second in the fifth. "I don't like to be hurt," Soriano said. "I like to play every day. We'll see how I feel tomorrow." Floyd hustled to the clubhouse when he saw Soriano limping in center field. "I'm thinking, I better get my glove," Floyd said. "When you sign a contract, the last thing you want to do is get hurt. Hopefully we can get him back as soon as possible. You always hold your breath. If we're going to win this thing, we're going to need him, bottom line." The Cubs have been waiting for the $136 million slugger to get on track. Before the game, Cubs manager Lou Piniella met with Soriano to make sure he was comfortable in center and that the position switch wasn't affecting his offense. A left fielder last year when he had a 40-40 season, Soriano was batting .245 and did not have a home run entering Monday's contest. He singled in the first and scored the first run. His teammates took over after that. Barrett belted a two-run homer in a four-run fifth, DeRosa led off the sixth with his third homer and Floyd added a three-run homer later that inning. "Unfortunately, 'Sori' got hurt, but at least Lou and my boys know we're always ready to play and pick each other up," Floyd said. Floyd's blast was special. It was his first with the Cubs in his hometown. "It felt great," said Floyd, who got the souvenir ball in exchange for an autographed bat. "I'll give it to my dad and mom. They'll enjoy it. I was sitting back and relaxing and watching a good game. I had to get in there and take over. I think I did a pretty good leading off for us." Could he fill Soriano's spot at the top of the order? "I led off a while ago with the Marlins," Floyd said. "[Former Florida manager Jim] Leyland was crazy back then. He did it. I like it. The pitcher doesn't get an opportunity to loosen up. I took advantage of it sometimes. You see [Craig] Biggio leading off and 'Sori.' It's not bad." Right now, the Cubs have to realign their outfield. Piniella had flipped the corner outfielders, starting Jacque Jones in left for the first time since August 2003 and Matt Murton in right. Jones then moved to center when Soriano exited, his first game there since Oct. 1, 2005, and Floyd came in to play left. Marquis benefited. Also a free-agent addition this offseason, Marquis (1-1) picked up his first win for the Cubs. He gave up one run on three hits and four walks over six innings, striking out five. "We played a complete game from hitting to defense to pitching," Marquis said. "That's what you have to look for. This team has the capabilities to do a lot of good things. Obviously, we know what we're capable of doing. We just have to get on a roll and play some good baseball." Soriano had gotten things started when he singled to lead off the first and eventually scored on Derrek Lee's single. After a wild pitch, Lee scored on Murton's single to make it 2-0. Jones added a two-out RBI single in the fourth. Marquis doubled to open the fifth and scored on Floyd's single. Floyd dashed to third, taking advantage of an errant throw home by right fielder Brian Giles. One out later, Lee was intentionally walked, and Murton bounced a grounder to short. Floyd tallied and Murton was safe, avoiding a potential double play. Barrett followed with his first home run of the season. "He made that inning possible," Piniella said of Murton's hustle. "Those are the sort of things we need to do to win baseball games." On Sunday, the Cubs were shut out 1-0 by the Cincinnati Reds and managed four hits. On Monday, they slugged 14 hits. "I've been saying all along we have a great lineup," Lee said. "It's just a matter of time -- hitting is contagious. Hopefully it rubs off on the rest of us."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.