At this point last season, the Chicago Cubs were just about out of it. This time, they've won six straight following an opening-day loss.
"You can't say, `We're 6-1, start buying World Series tickets.' We've got a long way to go," closer Rod Beck said after Monday's 3-2 victory over the Montreal Expos "You've got to play consistent baseball."The only thing 1998 and 1997 have in common is the opener. After losing their first game last year, the Cubs lost their next 13, too.
Montreal is resembling the Cubs - the '97 version. After purging most of their veterans to save money, the Expos are the only winless team in the majors at 0-6 and have set a franchise record for worst start.
BREWERS 8, MARLINS 5: Jeff Cirillo tied a club record with three doubles and visiting Milwaukee completed its first series sweep in the National League, winning its fourth straight against the World Series champions.
PIRATES 4, METS 2: Francisco Cordova (2-0) allowed five hits and struck out eight in seven innings as visiting Pittsburgh avoided a four-game sweep.
ASTROS 13, ROCKIES 4: Jeff Bagwell drove in three runs with a grounder and two-run homer at the Astrodome, and Houston overcame Dante Bichette's 5-for-5 performance.
ANGELS 2, RED SOX 1 (11 INNINGS): The Anaheim hitters were not much of a match for Pedro Martinez. Fortunately for the Angels, their pitchers were more than equal.
Chuck Finley lasted longer than Martinez, though both were gone when Matt Walbeck's single in the bottom of the 11th inning lifted Anaheim over Boston.
Martinez, the 1997 NL Cy Young winner, struck out nine in seven innings. Finley struck out 10 in nine innings. He allowed four hits, compared to seven off Martinez.
INDIANS 6, ATHLETICS 5, SUSPENDED, 8 INNINGS: In a game delayed by rain for 31/2 hours, Cleveland led at the Oakland Coliseum when play was stopped after eight innings because of the AL's curfew rule.
About 200 fans from the announced attendance of 6,963 remained in the stands when the game was halted at 1:22 a.m. PDT. Under AL rules, no inning may start after 1 a.m. local time.
The resumption will begin at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, before the start of the regularly scheduled game.
MARINERS 8, YANKEES 0: Jamie Moyer and Paul Spoljaric combined on a three-hitter and struck out 15 as Seattle kept New York struggling at the Kingdome.
The Mariners have won 18 of their last 22 at home against the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer and Dan Wilson had a three-run double for Seattle.
WHITE SOX 5, RANGERS 4: Playing in front of its smallest crowd for a home opener since 1975, Chicago beat Texas behind the hitting of rookie Magglio Ordonez.
A crowd of just 25,358 saw Ordonez hit a home run off Bobby Witt that made it 4-all in the sixth and then deliver a bases-loaded single in the eighth.