Baker lifts Cubs to wild victory over Dodgers

Cubs manager Mike Quade faced a tough decision with two out in the eighth inning Saturday. He had righty-hitting Jeff Baker coming to the plate with runners on the corners in a tie game, and right-hander Blake Hawksworth jogging to the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Quade looked at the lefty pinch hitters on his bench, and stuck with Baker.

"I just settled in and said 'You know what? I've stayed out of the way to this point, I think I'll stay out of the way and let this kid have this at-bat,'" Quade said, "and man, did he take advantage of it."

He sure did.

Baker hit a big two-run double and the Cubs got a banner day from the top of their lineup in a wild 10-8 victory over the Dodgers.

"What a ballgame," Quade said. "Those kids are something."

Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd combined for nine hits, six RBIs and four runs as Chicago roughed up Ted Lilly in his return to Wrigley Field. Castro tied a career high with four hits and Reed Johnson went 2 for 3 and scored twice.

The Dodgers scored seven unanswered runs to take an 8-5 lead before Chicago responded with a five-run eighth. The first three batters reached against Matt Guerrier (1-1), who hadn't allowed a run this season. Castro then lined a two-run single into center field and Barney tied it with a fielder's choice bouncer to shortstop Jamey Carroll.

Guerrier bounced back to strike out Byrd but left after Aramis Ramirez singled to put runners on first and third. Baker then greeted Hawksworth with a drive into the gap in right-center, delighting the crowd of 41,161.

"We never lost confidence that we could come back," Castro said through a translator. "The way we play right now, everybody was aggressive and everybody had confidence. We knew we could come back."

Baker said a pinch hitter never crossed his mind.

"I don't prepare to go up there and get taken out," he said. "I prepare to go up and get the hit."

Jeff Samardzija (2-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings to get the win. Carlos Marmol worked around a one-out walk to Jerry Sands to earn his fifth save in seven opportunities.

Casey Blake, Matt Kemp and Rod Barajas homered for Los Angeles, which had won three straight and five of six. Blake hit a two-run shot in the Dodgers' three-run fifth and went 2 for 3 with two walks to run his career average against the Cubs to .333 (17 for 51).

"If that wind is blowing out, you're never really safe. They found it out early, we found it out late," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "You're just not safe here. One bloop hit, somebody pops one and you're back in the game."

Barajas tied it at 5 with a leadoff drive in the sixth inning and Andre Ethier added a tiebreaking two-run double with two out, extending his major league-best hitting streak to 20 games. Barajas added a run-scoring grounder in the seventh to give the Dodgers an 8-5 lead.

Ethier clapped his hands and pointed to the Los Angeles dugout after continuing his career-best streak. The All-Star right fielder went 1 for 4 and is batting .408 (31 for 76) in the longest run for a Dodgers player since Nomar Garciaparra had a 22-game hitting streak in 2006.

"More than anything, Andre, like everyone else, is focused every day, every at-bat," Mattingly said. "He hasn't been giving any away, he's been battling through every one of them."

Lilly and Ryan Dempster locked up in a matchup of close friends but both pitchers struggled. Dempster allowed seven runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings in his fifth consecutive shoddy start to open the season, while Lilly yielded five runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings in his first career game against the Cubs.

"It's especially disappointing, given that our offense pulled back from a deficit and took the lead," said Lilly, who pitched for Chicago from 2007 until he was traded to L.A. last July.

The victory continued a bizarre streak for the Cubs (10-10), who became the first major league team to hit the .500 mark 10 times through the first 20 games of the season.

NOTES: Dodgers INF Juan Uribe rested with a minor leg injury and is day to day. ... Quade said he's leaning toward starting LHP James Russell on Tuesday against Colorado. ... Dodgers C Hector Gimenez will have arthroscopic right knee surgery Tuesday in Arizona. ... Mattingly said he thinks LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (left lower back strain) is going to make a couple rehab appearances with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga next week. ... The Cubs recalled RHP Justin Berg from Triple-A Iowa and optioned RHP Jeff Stevens to their top farm club. Stevens pitched 3 1-3 innings in Friday's 12-2 loss to L.A., drawing praise from Quade for helping save the tired bullpen for the rest of the series.