Hero: Darwin Barney went 3-for-4 (all singles), was hit by a pitch, and scored twice.
Hero: Ryan Dempster (1-4) had his second straight solid start, allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits while striking out four and walking none.
"I'm doing a better job of executing pitches," Dempster said. "I was able to keep the ball down, for the most part, today."
Hero: Carlos Zambrano (4-1) won his 10th straight road start with eight terrific innings as the Cubs (14-16), sporting classy 1944 replica uniforms, took two of three in the series and four of seven on the road trip. Zambrano, whose first pitch was delivered with an old-fashioned windmill windup, allowed one (earned) run on five hits while striking out four and walking one.
"He was Big Z today, he wasn't Carlos," Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd said. "I saw 92, 94 (MPH) on the board today. He's a power pitcher, and that's what he has to do to win."
Did you catch Big Z dancing in the dugout as a recording of the Glenn Miller Orchestra's "In the Mood" blared over the Dodger Stadium public address system? It's welcome to see him enjoying the game again.
"He did what he did easily, to me, without a lot of pomp and circumstance," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "He just went after hitters. When he's got some soft game to go with his moving fastball and can locate, he's really tough. He went right after guys and attacked them."
Zambrano's last road loss came last June 25 at Comiskey Park - his infamous meltdown game.
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."
Hero: Aramis Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a double off the right-field scoreboard to raise his average to .360. Ramirez was hitting .143 entering play on April 16, 2010.
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: Man, does this guy rake lefties! Jeff Baker went 4-for-5, including a go-ahead, three-run homer off Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf (0-2) in the fourth inning. Baker is 6-for-11 against southpaws this season.
Baker also contributed a two-out RBI single in the sixth and scored in the ninth on a Marlon Byrd double after reaching on a leadoff single.
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: Blake DeWitt put a miserable spring training behind him by delivering a tie-breaking, two-run double to cap a five-run Cubs eighth.
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.
And don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out the door.
Rush Limbaugh sometimes tells his listeners that "a tiger is a tiger, a snake is a snake, and a liberal is a liberal."
While a portion of the Chicago media used Wednesday's spring training dugout spat between Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez as a chance to recall every incident in recent history in which a Cubs player lost his cool, I choose to view the incident as a healthy expression of passion from a couple of players who are pissed off about the team's performance.
(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.
The acquisition of pitcher Matt Garza by the Cubs, along with two minor leaguers, from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for five prospects - that include right-handed pitcher Chris Archer, outfielders Brandon Guyer and Sam Fuld, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, and catcher Robinson Chirinos - is a brilliant and gutsy move by general manager Jim Hendry.
(Editor's Note: Tenth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
On Sept. 18, 2008, the Cubs' magic number for clinching the NL Central appeared like it was going to be stuck at four. The North Siders trailed the second-place Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and nobody on base.
(Editor's Note: Ninth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
The Cubs were riding high when they played host to the Colorado Rockies on May 30, 2008. They had won their previous four games to improve to 33-21 and held a 1.5-game lead over second-place St. Louis in the National League Central.
.259 BA, 34 HR, 156 RBI with Cubs
(Editor's Note: Ninth in a series identifying the 100 worst Cubs of all-time.)
When the Cubs signed Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome to a four-year,$48 million contract before the 2008 season, the outfielder was often described in the media as a cross between Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui. In nine seasons with the Chunichi Dragons, Fukudome hit .305, won a batting title in 2002, and was named the Japanese Central League MVP in 2006 after hitting .351 with 31 homers and 104 RBI.
It's a shame, that his lasting image in the minds of many Cubs fans will be an awkward-looking helicopter swing and a miss.