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Sunday, May 13, 2012
Cubs show they do have a little muscle

By Doug Padilla

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart's fifth-inning homer was a wake-up call for the Cubs' offense.

MILWAUKEE -- If this was a tortoise vs. the hare race, the Cubs’ offense just made things interesting.

The power-starved Cubs entered play Sunday with just 19 home runs, which was one more than the Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton had all by himself. Hamilton’s Rangers played later Sunday.

Ian Stewart gave the Cubs a little breathing room in this race with a fifth-inning home run and one inning later, Reed Johnson delivered another in pinch-hit fashion. The Cubs went on to an 8-2 victory over the Brewers.

Hamilton aside, the Cubs haven’t been getting anything in the way of power outside of Bryan LaHair. They entered the day 15th in the 16-team National League in home runs, ahead of only the San Diego Padres.

The opening month was plagued by winds blowing in during home games, not to mention a series at spacious Marlins Park, which the Cubs left empty handed. But it hasn’t helped that Alfonso Soriano has yet to hit a home run and that Stewart had just three before his shot to right field Sunday.

“Obviously power has been an issue, even with the weather,” Johnson said. “It’s still been something where you think we would have more home runs than we’ve had even with the weather. Hopefully guys can get hot and drive some balls.”

Soriano hit a double off the base of the center-field wall, but continues to look hobbled by a sore left knee that kept him out of a pair of games last week.

“Soriano is one of our key bats in the middle of the lineup that we’re going to need power from,” Johnson said. “Hopefully the combination of him getting some balls in the air and the weather starting to warm up will be good for this team.”