Mark Prior gave the Chicago Cubs a glimpse of exactly what they've been missing.
What he couldn't do all by himself was get them a victory.
Off the disabled list and on the mound for the first time this season, Prior retired the first 13 batters and pitched six stellar innings. But the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for two runs in the ninth and a 2-1 victory at Wrigley Field on Friday.
Prior was overpowering at times, allowing just two hits. He walked none and struck out eight. Prior wound up with a no-decision when the Cubs' bullpen blew a 1-0 lead and Chicago lost for the eighth time in 11 games.
"It felt good to be out there. I'm not going to lie. I had some anxiety going and probably a little nervousness going into it," Prior said. "I think I got a little gassed right there at the end, the last two or three hitters."
Jack Wilson doubled off Joe Borowski (2-4) and scored on Craig Wilson's two-out single to tie it. Pinch hitter Chris Stynes then hit a go-ahead single off Mike Remlinger.
Salomon Torres (4-1) got the win, and Jose Mesa pitched the ninth for his 14th save as the Pirates ended a five-game losing streak.
* EXPOS 4, REDS 2: Brad Wilkerson hit a solo homer and a tiebreaking, two-run shot in the seventh, rallying visiting Montreal to victory. The Reds had their biggest walk-up crowd since they started keeping track of the statistic in 1987. They sold 10,755 tickets when the gates opened yesterday.
The crowd of 32,701 watched the NL Central leaders get beat by a hometown prep star and a boyhood visitor.
Cincinnati native Zach Day (4-6) allowed only four hits in six innings, including Adam Dunn's two-run homer.
Day, the city's top high school player in 1995, had a cheering section behind the visitors' dugout and a larger one in the outfield stands. He estimated that more than 100 relatives and friends bought tickets to his first major league appearance in his hometown.
"You always dream of playing for the Reds or, if you can't, playing against them," said Day, 25. "It's a dream that not a lot of people get to fulfill. It was a long time coming."
* MARLINS 5, METS 1: Hee Seop Choi hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the sixth, Miguel Cabrera had three hits, and visiting Florida ended a four-game losing streak.
Carl Pavano (5-2) allowed six hits over 72/3 innings and retired 12 straight during one stretch as the Marlins ended New York's four-game winning streak.
Armando Benitez retired four straight batters to save Pavano's win. Hitters are zero for their last 40 against the reliever.
The Mets gave the crowd of 23,266, very little to cheer about. After Cliff Floyd's first-inning home run, New York managed just five more hits against Pavano before Benitez finished the job.
* CARDINALS 5, ASTROS 3: Scott Rolen snapped a fifth-inning tie with a two-run single, giving him a major league-leading 57 RBI and sending host St. Louis to victory.
The Cardinals have won five in a row and eight of nine to pull within a game of NL Central-leading Cincinnati.
The opener of a three-game series drew a sellout crowd of 47,373 -- and the other two games also are sold out.
* PHILLIES 9, BRAVES 1: Bobby Abreu and Mike Lieberthal homered to back seven impressive innings by Eric Milton, and visiting Philadelphia ended a four-game losing streak.
* BREWERS 3, PADRES 1: Geoff Jenkins had two RBI doubles to lead visiting Milwaukee. The first four of the Brewers' eight hits went for extra bases in the spacious downtown ballpark.
* GIANTS 13, ROCKIES 7: Barry Bonds hit his 673rd home run, and Jason Schmidt won his seventh straight decision, leading visiting San Francisco.
A.J. Pierzynski and Dustan Mohr each hit a three-run homer, and Neifi Perez also connected for the Giants.
* DODGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Paul Lo Duca hit a three-run homer, and Milton Bradley, playing while appealing a four-game suspension, drove in two runs to lead visiting Los Angeles over Arizona.