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Prior's Third Start Gets Wind-Swept

June 02, 2002|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — Mark Prior learned how tough Wrigley Field can be to a pitcher when the wind is blowing out.

The Houston Astros handed Prior his first major league loss, roughing up the heralded rookie for three early home runs and defeating the Chicago Cubs, 7-3, Saturday.

With the wind gusting up to 22 mph, Prior was tagged for seven runs, seven hits and gave up three home runs in 32/3 innings.

"He knows you have to keep the ball down when the wind is blowing out and I think he learned that lesson," Cub Manager Don Baylor said.

But Prior, drafted by the Cubs out of USC last year, believes that adjusting to the wind isn't necessary.

"You can't pitch whether the wind is blowing in or out. You got to go out there and throw your game," Prior said.

The Cubs, who have lost five of their last seven, held a private meeting before the game.

"I can't really give any detail," Sammy Sosa said. "That stays between us."

Richard Hidalgo, Lance Berkman and Geoff Blum homered against Prior in his third start.

Prior, who had been three for seven with two homers at triple-A Iowa, had a two-run double.

But Prior was chased in the Astros' five-run fourth. He struck out five and walked two.

Cub pitching coach Larry Rothschild was ejected in the second inning by plate umpire Jeff Nelson after arguing balls and strikes.

Roy Oswalt (6-3) pitched 72/3 innings, giving up three runs and eight hits. He retired 11 batters in a row before Fred McGriff hit a one-out single in the eighth.

Oswalt was lifted in the eighth after giving up a run-scoring single to Roosevelt Brown.

"I felt good," Oswalt said. "The last inning I was just getting the ball up."

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