Jeff Samardzija allowed five hits and a run over seven strong innings, and Bryan LaHair, Ian Stewart and Geovany Soto each homered Monday night to lead the Chicago Cubs over the Atlanta Braves 5-1.Samardzija (4-1) gave up a solo homer to Jason Heyward in the second inning, walked two and struck out seven in a 105-pitch outing to help the Cubs win for the third time in four games.LaHair drove Tommy Hanson's first pitch of the bottom of the fourth high over the right field wall for his eighth homer of the season. One pitch later, Stewart connected on his third - also to right - to make it 2-1.Soto hit a two-run homer off Chad Durbin in the eighth.Atlanta threatened with one out in the seventh when Samardzija hit Heyward with a pitch and Tyler Pastornicky singled before pinch-hitter Eric Hinske lined to LaHair at first and he threw to second to double off Heyward and squash the rally.Hanson (3-3) gave up five hits and two runs in six innings. The loss was just the eighth in the last 26 games for the Braves.When Braves reliever Eric O'Flaherty hit David DeJesus with a two-out pitch in the bottom of the seventh, home plate umpire Chris Conroy warned both benches, prompting Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to come out of the dugout. Moments later he was ejected by Conroy.Tony Campana then beat out a bunt and Starlin Castro hit an RBI single to make it 3-1.Demoted Chicago closer Carlos Marmol came in to pitch the eighth and walked the first two batters, eliciting a chorus of boos from the Wrigley Field faithful.
Freddie Freeman lined out before a stolen base and Marmol wild pitch put runners at second and third. Brian McCann took a third strike for the second out and Marmol turned the boos into cheers by striking out Dan Uggla swinging. Marmol then came off the mound screaming, pounding himself on the chest.Notes
Cubs RHP Matt Garza, slowed by a flu bug that has hit several players, is scheduled to return to the rotation Friday in Milwaukee. He was scratched from his start Sunday. ... Heyward entered the game with a career .342 average against the Cubs and now has five homers against them. ... Braves CF Michael Bourn made two nice running catches, going over his shoulder to grab LaHair's drive in the second and racing to left center to rob Soto of extra bases in the third. He also extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an infield hit to short in the third. ... The Cubs hit back-to-back homers for the first time since last August when Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena - neither of whom is still with the team - connected against Washington. ... LaHair has now reached base in 25 straight games. ... Game-time temperature was 56 and a light fog began rolling in during the late innings.
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Brian Urlacher played his way into the pantheon of Bears linebackers and the Hall of Fame over his 13-year career in Chicago, leaving no question he belongs among the all-time greats.
Where he stacks up with the best of the best in team history is still up for debate.
Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson ranked the top 100 players in franchise history for the team’s official site, and Urlacher fell outside of the top 10.
Urlacher came in one spot ahead of fellow legendary linebacker Mike Singletary, but the greats of pre-merger era earned many of the top spots on the list.
Dick Butkus came in second to only Walter Payton, while old school legends Bill George and Bulldog Turner ranked seventh and eighth, respectively.
It’s difficult to compare linebackers that played 50 years apart, especially when stacking them up with players at other positions.
Urlacher is still near the top of the list of the best Bears ever. They just have so many all-time greats, the likes of Dan Hampton, Richard Dent and Jimbo Covert just don’t have a spot in the top 10.
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The Michigan Wolverines are hiring former Fab Five star Juwan Howard as the head coach of their basketball team. Aside from being a part of that prolific college basketball team, Howard is a two-time NBA champion with the LeBron James-led Miami Heat.
And he is a former local basketball hoops star at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, where we was named an All-American in 1991.
But the Fab Five have not been on the best of terms over the years, particularly current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose and Chris Webber. With Howard back in Ann Arbor, all beefs are officially over.
“It squashes any drama or any beef because we’re not going to bring that to Ann Arbor’s campus with Juwan Howard as our head coach," Rose told Mike Greenberg when asked about the beef Thursday morning on ESPN's Get Up. "The one thing that we both know is his success turning around the University of Michigan is first and foremost about him and about the players that he’s going to influence. Then it’s about us being there to support him, not being drama, not being splintered, not giving any indication of dysfunction.
"We’re going to move as a family and we’re going to do what we can to build on what John Beilein has established in Ann Arbor.”
Rose reiterated this point later in the day during a segment with fellow Michigan alum Adam Schefter.
Let's wait and see if Howard brings winning ways to Michigan to make this honeymoon period last, otherwise it could be back to business as usual.
Also, does Chris Webber feel the same way? Has Rose already talked to Webber to clear the air? Or is Rose just saying it's over on his side in the hopes Webber follows suit?
Both Webber and Rose made it clear that Howard was their preferred candidate, so they seem to be on the same page.
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