There's nothing friendly about the confines of Chicago's Wrigley Field these days. Even Cub tradition has taken a beating.
Monday, they wore blue for the first time at home, white having brought them no luck. But blue didn't make the Cubs pitch or hit better. They dropped a 9-0 decision to Cincinnati, their 11th consecutive home defeat, a Chicago record and one that means the Cubs are 0-for-the-season in Wrigley. That's a National League record for season-opening futility in the 20th century.
"I think it is still a great lineup out there," Smiley said of the Cubs, who had only two hits. "Sometimes you get in a bad slump and it's tough getting out of it because you're pressing a little bit too much. It's still a good lineup."
It's not as good as Chicago first baseman Mark Grace implied.
"I'm not going to blame the Cubs' poor play," Grace said. "I'm going to give every ounce of respect to John Smiley. He could have beaten the 1927 Yankees tonight."
He had no trouble with the 1994 Cubs, who, at 6-17, have the worst record in baseball--so bad they seemed to want to spend the night incognito.
Hence the blue jerseys.
"It's just a different look," Manager Tom Trebelhorn said. "People want me to change the lineup. I'm not going to change the lineup, I'm going to change the jerseys."
Bret Boone drove in four runs for the Reds, who scored five times after two were out in the third inning to make an easy night for Smiley (3-2), who struck out six.
San Francisco 10, New York 3--Mark Portugal tripled and singled during a nine-run third inning and also pitched two-hit ball for seven shutout innings at New York.
A two-out error by Met shortstop Jose Vizcaino made all nine runs in the third inning unearned. Matt Williams hit his major league-leading 12th homer after the error.
Portugal drove in two runs during the inning, the biggest for the Giants since they scored nine runs on Aug. 18, 1982, at Pittsburgh. The Giants combined six hits, two errors, two walks and a wild pitch in the burst.
Portugal (3-2) struck out three and walked five. Bobby Jones (3-2) lasted 2 2/3 innings.
Philadelphia 7, San Diego 2--Lenny Dykstra, who bruised his back crashing into the wall a day earlier, doubled three times, stole two bases, drove in two runs and scored twice for the Phillies in Philadelpia.
The benches emptied in the fourth inning when the Phillies' Mariano Duncan, who was hit on the arm by a pitch in the second, was knocked down with a high-and-tight pitch from Andy Ashby (0-3).
Duncan started to walk toward the mound, but was blocked by catcher Brad Ausmus. Duncan then pushed Ausmus just below the neck, triggering the brawl. Duncan and Ausmus were ejected, as were Philadelphia's Pete Incaviglia and Jeff Juden.
Danny Jackson (3-0) pitched his second complete game, allowing six hits and and striking out nine.
Detroit blew a 7-3 lead in the ninth inning and fell behind, 8-7, in the 10th. But the Tigers rallied for their third consecutive victory, their longest winning streak of the season.
It was the second three-run homer in two days for Gibson, who hit the right field roof with a ball that bounced out of Tiger Stadium on Sunday.