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Cubs double their pleasure in victory

Cubs double their pleasure in win

CHICAGO -- Milton Bradley's long-distance home run Tuesday night didn't make the outfielder smile, but Bobby Scales did.

Scales hit his first Major League homer, a pinch-hit solo shot in the seventh, and Bradley belted a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth to power the Cubs to a 6-2 victory Tuesday over Jake Peavy and the San Diego Padres.

Bradley now has a hit in each of his last six games and is batting .304 in that stretch with six RBIs. He was hitting .128 in his first 18 games of the season with two RBIs.

"He's starting to swing it," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "That ball he hit tonight, that's the longest ball I've seen hit here in the few years I've been here."

The Cubs trailed, 2-1, when Kosuke Fukudome doubled to lead off the Chicago sixth, and one batter later, Bradley launched his homer into the upper level of seats in straightaway center off Peavy (2-5).

"In 'BP,' [Carlos] Zambrano hits them there, but in the game it's very tough," Chicago's Alfonso Soriano said.

"Jake's probably the best pitcher I've ever played with," Bradley said of his former teammate. "I appreciate him challenging me with that pitch because you don't hit him like that too often."

That was Bradley's 107th career homer. Scales, 31, called up to the big leagues after spending 10-plus seasons in the Minors, connected leading off the seventh and sprinted around the bases after hitting his first.

"Even in the Minor Leagues when I hit home runs, there's no point in showing anybody up," Scales said. "You hit it and it went over the fence, and that's enough. Hit all four bases and get off the field."

Did he know how fast he was going?

"I was just running," Scales said. "I kept telling myself, 'Pick your feet up, pick your feet up, so you don't trip.'"

Scales did get the home run ball. He may need a new trophy case; he's gotten a hit in each of the first five games of his brief big league career.

"I've got 10 at-bats," Scales said. "I'm still trying to slow this thing down and be as calm as I can be. You don't ever figure it out, I don't care how good you are. I'm just trying to get through this thing and help this team win."

Bradley has the same mission.

"That's all I want to do," Bradley said. "You just want to contribute to the cause. These guys welcomed me with open arms and every day keep supporting me. It's nice to get the fan support tonight and hear the cheers and do something to help the team.

"I need the support. Part of the reason I came here is because they have great fans and they're going to be into the game. I like that life."

Bradley shows a lot of life, too.

"I've always said, I don't play baseball, I feel it," he said. "I try to grasp the moment. I never get too happy about anything I do because I expect to do well. When Scales goes deep like that, I get a smile on my face."

Soriano hit an RBI double in the fifth and an RBI single in the eighth to help Rich Harden (4-1) win his fourth straight decision. Harden lasted six innings and gave up two runs, both on Adrian Gonzalez's two-run homer in the Padres' first. That was not what Harden wanted to do against Peavy.

"The pitcher he is, that first inning, giving up the two runs, is not what you want to do especially with a guy like that on the mound," Harden said. "It's tough for your hitters. All of a sudden you're down by two runs. He's a good pitcher and fortunately, we were able to get some runs off him."

Peavy (2-5) struck out nine over six innings, including Derrek Lee three times. The Cubs had tried to acquire the Cy Young winner this past offseason, but general manager Jim Hendry ended talks in December when he decided the price of personnel and the additional payroll was too high.

Instead, the team spent money on Bradley, signing him to a three-year, $30 million deal. The Wrigley Field crowd of 39,963 booed him when he struck out in the fourth with a runner in scoring position. They cheered long and loud when Bradley connected in his next at-bat in the sixth.

"The fans, they get a little anxious at times, but they get anxious when I don't take a pitcher out in time," Piniella said. "We've got great fans here, and they want to see us win. At the same time, this is not as easy as it looks. It's a tough game to play, and you can't be on your 'A' game every day. You've got to have a little patience with this thing."

Both Bradley and Scales know that, too.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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