MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Randall Simon had fans cheering for him in his
return to Miller Park.
Cubs' fans who made the trip applauded his two-run homer in
Saturday night's 8-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.All spectators in section 112, just beyond first base, cheered
when the Brewers announced they would receive free Italian sausages
courtesy of the Chicago first baseman."Things went fine tonight," Simon said. "It's funny, but I
think all the people were from Chicago. But the main thing I wanted
to get across is that I didn't want to hurt anybody. I wanted
people to realize what kind of person I am. I'm a kind person."It was the first game for Simon at Miller Park since July 9,
when he used his bat to hit a woman dressed as a sausage during a
race.Since traded to the Cubs, he didn't play in Friday's series
opener. On Saturday, he was booed in his first plate appearance,
then homered in the third. He ended Milwaukee's sixth with a diving
catch of a line drive by Eddie Perez.Moments later, while Simon was in the Cubs' dugout, the
scoreboard in center field announced the free sausage offer -- and
that Simon was paying."I wanted to make sure people didn't take it the wrong way,"
Simon said, thinking back to the events of July 9.Simon was cited for disorderly conduct for his actions during
the July game. Bond was set at $432, and Simon didn't challenge it.
He forfeited the money Thursday, ending the case.The sausage offer was suggested to Simon by one of the Cubs'
coaches."I think it was an awesome idea," Simon said. "I think it got
me closer to the fans, and it was a nice way of saying, `Thank you
and I'm sorry.' "Cubs manager Dusty Baker also got a kick out of it."At first I thought they said he was buying Italian sausages
for everyone in the park," Baker said.Mark Prior (15-5) struck out seven in seven innings, becoming
the first Chicago pitcher to win seven straight decisions since
Kevin Tapani in 1998. Prior allowed three runs and 10 hits."I had good stuff," Prior said. "Mentally, I was awful
tonight. Instead of trying to split the plate, I started to try to
cut the corners."Troy O'Leary, playing for injured Moises Alou, had four RBI for
Chicago, which opened a 5-0 lead in the third and won for the sixth
time in seven games. The Cubs remained a half-game behind Houston,
winners over San Diego, in the NL Central.Matt Kinney (10-10) gave up five runs and seven hits in five
innings for the Brewers."Basically, I made some mental mistakes and put us in a hole,"
Kinney said.The game drew a record crowd of 46,218 to Miller Park. The
Brewers have drawn sellouts in consecutive games for the first time
since May 18-19 last year, also against the Cubs.Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the first for the second straight
night. Kenny Lofton led off with a triple, Sammy Sosa walked with
one out, O'Leary hit a sacrifice fly and Aramis Ramirez had a
run-scoring single.Sosa and O'Leary hit consecutive doubles in the third, and Simon
hit his 13th homer, his third since the Cubs acquired him Aug. 16."He is a notorious free swinger and you don't want to throw him
anything over the plate," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.
"(Kinney) threw one right down Broadway."Prior allowed only one runner to reach second in the first four
innings.Keith Ginter hit an RBI single in the fifth and hit a two-run
homer in the seventh, both coming against Prior.Richie Sexson made it a one-run game when he hit his 37th homer
in the eighth off Dave Veres, activated from the disabled list
before the game. Veres had been sidelined since Aug. 22 with right
shoulder tendinitis.Mark Grudzielanek hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth off Glendon
Rusch, and O'Leary hit a two-run homer against Luis Vizcaino."Anytime you face a guy like Mark Prior, you know you're in
trouble if you give up three runs," Yost said. "We battled back
but couldn't hold them at the end."
Kerry Wood (11-11) is scheduled to pitch Sunday for the
Cubs against Doug Davis (2-0). ... Alou sat out for the second
straight game after bruising his left knee Thursday on a foul ball
when batting against St. Louis. ... Milwaukee RF John Vander Wal
hasn't played since Tuesday, when he left a game against Cincinnati
with a strained left groin after one inning. ... Milwaukee reserve
Enrique Cruz ended his 0-for-24 slump with a single off Prior in
the seventh. But he was out when running to second because the ball
hit by Podsednik hit him. Ginter's double followed, but the Brewers
managed only one run.