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Updated: Monday, March 31, 2003 7:44 PM EST
MLB RECAP
Chicago Cubs
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
15 16 0
New York Mets
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
2 4 2
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CHICAGO CUBS 15, NY METS 2
 

FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) -- Corey Patterson made Dusty Baker 's debut as manager of the Chicago Cubs a successful one. The start to the tenures of New York Mets Art Howe and Tom Glavine were less than auspicious.

Patterson had four hits, including a pair of homers, and drove in a career-high seven runs and Kerry Wood combined with three relievers on a four-hitter as the Cubs pounded the Mets, 15-2.

After guiding the San Francisco Giants to the World Series in 2002, Baker was brought in by the Cubs in an attempt to jump-start a team that lost 95 games last season.

"The first one is the hardest," Baker said. "Anytime you're a new manager, it's something you will remember. I remember my first one in San Francisco and I'll remember this one."

Baker's first game could not have gone much better as his team rapped out 16 hits, walked 12 times and tied the team record for runs on Opening Day.

"You get 12 walks, that's a good way to keep pitchers working," he said. "Anytime you get a lot of walks, to me, it's a victory."

The Cubs began the 1899 season with a 15-1 victory over Louisville.

Conversely, Howe - who led Oakland to a 103 wins and the American League West Division title in 2002 - saw his new team allow its most runs on Opening Day.

"You just move on and go to the next one," Howe said. "A 4-2 game would have been more agonizing. I would have wanted a better game for the fans. I wish we had a better script."

It was the most lopsided opener in the major leagues since the Chicago White Sox routed the St. Louis Browns, 17-3, on April 17, 1951.

Ironically, the Mets entered the game with a 25-15 mark in season openers - the best percentage (.634) in major league history.

"Last year, we weren't prepared on a consistent basis. Today it wasn't a lack of hustle," said first baseman Mo Vaughn , who had one hit and scored one run. "This year, this team is focused. We didn't want to start this year this way but it happened."

Patterson smacked a three-run homer off lefthander Mike Bacsik in the sixth inning and a two-run shot off Bacsik in the seventh.

"The wind was blowing in many directions," the 23-year-old outfielder said. "I didn't think that first one was going over, but the second one - I knew it was out."

Patterson matched his home run output against lefthanders from all of last season, notched his second career multi-homer game and recorded his third four-hit contest.

"I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can but it's one game," he said. "I just have to be focused on the next day. The coaches have been telling us to be selectively aggressive. I'm not going to help pitchers out. We're just looking for pitches in our zone, our pitch."

Mark Bellhorn drove in four runs, Moises Alou had two RBI and Mark Grudzielanek went 3-for-3 for Chicago. Cubs rookie first baseman Hee Seop Choi scored three runs.

Needing just one home run to reach 500 for his career, Chicago right fielder Sammy Sosa did not homer but walked three times, scored three runs and drove in one.

"I'm just being patient," Sosa said. "I'll continue to be patient. When they make a mistake, I'll hit it."

Making his first Opening Day start, Wood (1-0) allowed two runs and two hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked three.

"You can't ask for more than what we had today," Wood said. "We had opportunity after opportunity. You're never ready to come out after five innings, but coming out of spring training we wanted to limit our pitch counts. And that's what we did.

"I just tried to work the ball inside today. It was a little tough getting a grip in the cold, but I was in control of my breaking ball."

Juan Cruz tossed two scoreless innings and tied a Cubs record for relievers by striking out six in a row.

Glavine (0-1) signed a three-year contract with a vested interest in a fourth year worth $35 million in December. But the lefthander struggled, giving up five runs - four in the opening inning - and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

"It certainly wasn't what I envisioned, what I'd hoped for," said Glavine, who spent his previous 15-plus years in the majors with the rival Atlanta Braves . "But in the grand scheme, it's one game, one bad day. I have to look at the big picture."

A day before his 37th birthday, the two-time Cy Young Award winner threw over 50 pitches in the first two innings and 90 during his stint.

The Mets also committed two errors - a bad sign for a team that led the majors in that category last season. One was made by Cliff Floyd , who had a tough time in left field in his Mets debut.

"I went to Roger (Cedeno, the center fielder) and said, 'Why didn't you tell me that (about the wind and sun)?,' Floyd said. "Now I know."

Glavine walked Grudzielanek to start the game and things didn't get any better. The four-run inning was highlighted by Alou's double, which went over the head of Floyd, who received an error when he fumbled the ball out of his glove.

That brought out of the first of the boos from a sellout crowd that sat in 34-degree conditions with winds at 20 miles per hour. Most left by the middle innings.

Jeromy Burnitz 's run-scoring double and a groundout by Rey Sanchez that scored Ty Wigginton brought New York within 4-2, but Glavine surrendered Patterson's RBI single in the third.

Wood helped himself with an RBI single in the fifth for a 6-2 lead. Patterson's three-run homer capped a four-run sixth and the seventh featured Bellhorn's bases-clearing triple and Patterson's two-run shot.

The Cubs had at least one baserunner in every inning and at least two in the first eight.


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