Cubs, Sox Win Openers
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 4, 2006 1:44PM
The Cubs and White Sox each won their season openers Monday. Of course, the Sox actually began their opener on Sunday. A 3-hour rain delay pushed the game into Monday morning, when the game ended around 1:00am.
Opening the regular season on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, the White Sox hosted the Cleveland Indians. Pregame festivities included the unveiling of their World Series Championship banner in front of a packed house.
The game itself started well, with the White Sox jumping out to a 3-1 lead. Cleveland came back to tie the game in the 4th inning off starter Mark Buehrle. And then the rains came. And continued. For hours. Play finally resumed around 11:30pm, and the Sox quickly jumped out to a nice lead by scoring 3 runs in both the 4th and 5th innings. New Sox slugger Jim Thome hit a 432-foot home run, as if to demonstrate to the fans he's ready to help the team this year. Brandon McCarthy, relegated to the bullpen this year because of the depth of starting pitching, came into the game following the rain delay and pitched 3 perfect innings for the win. The Sox ended up winning the game 10-4.
Twelve hours after the end of the Sox game, the Cubs began their 2006 campaign in Cincinnati against the Reds. While no banners were unveiled there, they did have George W. Bush on hand to throw out the first pitch. Chicagoist bets Dusty Baker enjoyed finally having somebody around who's more on the hot seat than he himself is. Not that Bush didn't try to deflect that pressure, asking Baker, "This is the year, right?"
Baker answered, "I'll do what I got to do." We would have said, "The year the Dems take back Congress? Yeah, this is the year."
If it is the Cubs' year, finally, after watching the Red Sox and White Sox break their decades-long droughts, they at least started the season off right on Monday. The Cubs pounded the Reds 16-7, opening the game with a 5-run 1st inning. Carlos Zambrano lasted only 4 2/3 innings, allowing 5 runs, though. Their pitching will need to improve because the offense cannot put up 16 runs every day. But at least on opening day, the Cubs found a way to win.
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