Hero: Darwin Barney went 3-for-4 (all singles), was hit by a pitch, and scored twice.
In my visits to Wrigley Field in recent years, I have enjoyed a wide variety of vantage points.
I had the pleasure of watching the great Greg Maddux pitch from a second-row club box seat. I've also sat in the field boxes, terrace boxes, terrace reserved seats, and upper deck boxes - behind home plate and down both lines. I've even watched a couple games from rooftops across the street. But I had not sat in the bleachers since 2004 - two years before the seating area was renovated and named the "Bud Light Bleachers."
Hero: Finally, the Demp we know and love. Ryan Dempster, who turned 34 on Tuesday, walked the first two batters he faced on eight straight balls, but bounced back to work seven solid innings. Dempster- who lowered his ERA to 8.05 while not figuring in the decision- allowed one (earned) run on six hits while walking two and striking out five.
"To say this was the best outing of Ryan Dempster's season would be probably the understatement of the year," Len Kasper said during the WGN telecast."He was really good."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Alfonso Soriano is the third Cub in the last 41 years to hit 11 or more home runs in the team's first 28 games.
Hero: Alfonso Soriano took over the major league lead in home runs when he belted his 11th of the season leading off the seventh.
Gordon Wittenmyer, in Monday's Chicago Sun-Times, pointed out that Cubs right fielder Kosuke Fukudome hit .383 (23-for-60) and is a .345 (101-for-293) hitter in his four seasons with the Cubs. But entering Monday's game, Fukudome was hitting just .244 (275-for-1,129) after April.
Hero: Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4) wrapped up a terrific April with a solo home run in the second inning and an RBI single in the fourth. It was the 10th homer of the season for Soriano (.258 BA, 20 RBI), who shares the major league lead in home runs with Milwaukee's Ryan Braun.
Hero: Alfonso Soriano smashed two solo home runs. It was the 27th career multi-home run game for Soriano, who leads the Cubs (11-14) with nine long balls.
Hero: A slimmer Justin Berg made his 2011 debut and set down the Dodgers in order in the seventh inning.
Hero: Reed Johnson, who replaced center fielder Marlon Byrd in the starting lineup, went 3-for-4 with a double.
Hero: Matt Garza - who did not figure in the decision - allowed six hits, struck out nine, and walked three over six shutout innings. Garza walked the first two men he faced in the sixth but escaped a bases-loaded-jam when Brad Hawpe rolled into an inning-ending double play.
"If I don't win a game all year but we win my games, it doesn't bother me one bit," Garza said.
According to the preseason prognosticators, one of the Cubs' glaring weaknesses was supposed to be the leadoff spot.
Hero: Alfonso Soriano hit his fourth home run of the season - a three-run shot during the Cubs' five-run first inning - and, with help from a Starlin Castro relay throw, gunned down Houston's Brett Wallace at the plate when Wallace tried to score from first on a Matt Downs double in the second inning.
Hero: Marcos Mateo, rebounding from a rough outing on Tuesday, retired all three batters he faced after entering in the top of the ninth with Arizona runners on the corners and no outs. Mateo's effort kept the Cubs within striking distance.
Hero: Alfonso Soriano hit a game-tying home run - his second in as many days - in the third inning and contributed a clutch two-out single in the eighth to drive in a crucial go-ahead run. Soriano didn't hit his second homer until his 15th game last season.
I remember fondly throughout my childhood the February day in which my father would bring home a stack of baseball preview magazines.
I would devour those things and have continued the practice into adulthood. All of that reading material has helped me get through those final few weeks without baseball, but I learned long ago that such publications should not be believed as gospel.
(Editor's Note: Fourteenth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
It seems so long ago, but it's only been a little over two years since the Cubs, with the best record in the National League, clinched their second straight Central Division title with a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 20, 2008. My confidence in the Cubs was never - before or since - as high as it was in '08. And the highlight of that magical regular season came on Sept. 14 when Carlos Zambrano pitched the first Cubs no-hitter in over 36 years.