Hero: Reed Johnson, who got a rare start in right field, went 3-for-5 with a triple, drove in four, and made a spectacular catch in the second inning, slamming into the right-field wall to rob former Cub Mike Fontenot of extra bases.
I wish Chicago Sun-Times columnist Joe Cowley would stick to telling White Sox general manager Ken Williams how to do his job.
In Thursday's Sun-Times, Cowley, a former longtime White Sox beat writer, advised Cubs fans to not get their hopes up in regards to the North Siders signing St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. He suggested that any Cubs fan who dares dream of Pujols donning a Cubs uniform in 2012 should "pick up the nearest stapler and punch it into your chest to help snap you back to reality."
Hero: Darwin Barney went 3-for-4 (all singles), was hit by a pitch, and scored twice.
Cubs relievers have not allowed a run in their last 17 2/3 innings over nine games.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro graces the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated.
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: Kosuke Fukudome, who turns 34 Tuesday, had five singles in five at-bats to raise his average to .478.
Hero: A slimmer Justin Berg made his 2011 debut and set down the Dodgers in order in the seventh inning.
Hero: Starlin Castro - the best player the Cubs farm system has produced since perhaps Billy Williams - went 4-for-5 with a double and a clutch two-run single during the Cubs' five-run eighth. It was the fifth career four-hit game for Castro, who is now hitting .393, and his second four-hit effort this season. He has a major league leading 10 multi-hit games in 2011 and leads the majors with 35 hits.
Heroes: The first two hitters in the Cubs' lineup - Starlin Castro (3-for-5) and Darwin Barney (2-for-3) - combined for five hits and scored all five of the Cubs' runs in the first four innings against Houston starter Nelson Figueroa (0-2).
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.
When spring training opened last month, Cubs manager Mike Quade let it be known that there would be open competition for a large percentage of the spots on his team's Opening Day roster.
The improved play the Cubs demonstrated under interim manager Mike Quade during the season's final weeks (a 24-13 record) was encouraging but it doesn't change the fact that the 2010 season was an unmitigated disaster.
Heroes: Thomas Diamond, Marcos Mateo, and Sean Marshall combined for two scoreless and hitless innings as Cubs relievers closed the season with 28 straight shutout innings. The bullpen posted a 1.19 ERA in its final 25 games.
Hero: Casey Coleman (4-2) finished the season by winning his final three starts. The rookie right-hander allowed six hits over seven innings while striking out two and walking one as the Cubs improved to 14-14 in shutout games. Cubs starters are 13-5 with a 2.87 ERA since Sept. 10.
Hero: Tom Gorzelanny finished his season by allowing just three hits over six innings while walking four and striking out three.
Hero: Randy Wells (7-13) allowed one (earned) run and five hits over eight innings while striking out five and walking none to earn just his second win in his last 10 starts. Wells - a native of nearby Belleville, Ill. - was making his first career start at Busch Stadium. He also drove in a single-game career-high two runs with a pair of RBI singles. Wells entered the game with three RBI in 91 career at-bats.