Dusty Baker understandably tempered his enthusiasm after watching his first-place Chicago Cubs hit four home runs in an easy 10-4 win over visiting Cincinnati yesterday.
The Cubs committed two errors, walked seven and hit two with pitches. They allowed the Reds to score twice on passed balls and once on a wild pitch.
"It wasn't a pretty game at all," Baker said.
Some of it was. Sammy Sosa hit his 502nd career home run, a three-run shot in the first inning, and Moises Alou added another three-run homer in the seventh.
"We didn't play a great game, but the name of the game is to win and we won," Baker said.
They got a lot of help from Reds pitchers, who walked a season-high 11 and threw three wild pitches.
Starter Paul Wilson (0-1) yielded six runs, five earned, in 32/3 innings.
"My job today was to pick up this ball club and I didn't do that," Wilson said.
Carlos Zambrano (2-1) pitched six erratic innings to earn the win.
* CARDINALS 15, BREWERS 2: Scott Rolen hit a pair of two-run home runs and Matt Morris pitched six solid innings and hit his first major league home run as St. Louis won on the road.
The Brewers managed only one unearned run off Morris (1-1). Pitching his third consecutive strong game, Morris scattered five hits while walking four and striking out seven.
One start after beating Arizona's Randy Johnson, Milwaukee starter Wayne Franklin (1-2) yielded nine earned runs on eight hits and three walks in 32/3 innings.
Albert Pujols, returning after missing Tuesday night's game with a bruised right thumb, had two singles, a double, two RBI and scored twice. Mike Matheny drove in three runs with a single and a double.
Morris's first career homer came in his 255th at bat. He also singled, walked and scored a run.
* BRAVES 3, EXPOS 2: Rookie Horacio Ramirez shut out Montreal until the eighth inning and Gary Sheffield hit another "jonron," leading revived Atlanta in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A night after newcomer Shane Reynolds and the Braves' bullpen held the Expos to one run in 10 innings, Ramirez (2-2) was exceptional.
The 23-year-old left-hander shut out the Expos until Ron Calloway's two-run homer, beating the team that defeated him two weeks ago in his major league debut.
* PIRATES 6, METS 3: Kevin Young's pinch-hit single in the sixth inning drove in the go-ahead run and Pittsburgh, getting a third straight effective outing from Jeff Suppan, won at home.
Suppan (3-0) limited the Mets to two runs, one earned, and four hits to win his third consecutive start.
* MARLINS 3, PHILLIES 1: Brad Penny yielded two hits in seven shutout innings and Ivan Rodriguez scored twice as visiting Florida broke a three-game losing streak. Penny (2-1) struck out eight and walked three.
* ASTROS 8, GIANTS 5: Jeff Kent hit a two-run double against his former team and Craig Biggio connected for a three-run homer as visiting Houston sent San Francisco to its second loss of the season.
* DODGERS 3, PADRES 0: Kazuhisa Ishii allowed three hits in seven innings, and slumping Fred McGriff hit a two-run double to cap a three-run sixth for host Los Angeles.