Cubs start June as best team for 1st time since 1908 season
By: By The Associated Press
Alfonso Soriano and the Chicago Cubs are piling up wins at Wrigley Field. Ditto for Ken Griffey Jr. and the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Braves can’t wait to get back to Atlanta after another dismal road trip. Soriano homered, Jim Edmonds drove in two runs, and Chicago beat the reeling Colorado Rockies 5-3 on Sunday to complete a perfect seven-game homestand. Griffey remained at 599 career homers but Jay Bruce connected to help Cincinnati beat Atlanta 6-2 for its 12th win in its last 13 home games. In other NL games, it was: Philadelphia 7, Florida 5; Milwaukee 10, Houston 1; Arizona 5, Washington 0; New York 6, Los Angeles 1; St. Louis 7, Pittsburgh 4; and San Francisco 4, San Diego 3 in 10 innings. The Cubs entered June with the best record in baseball for the first time since 1908, when they last won a World Series. They are 26-8 at Wrigley after wrapping up their first perfect homestand of at least seven games since April 14-26, 1970. The Cubs play 23 of their next 32 games on the road, where they’re 10-13 heading into a seven-game trip to San Diego and Los Angeles. “At the end of the day, you should play better at home,” second baseman Mark DeRosa said. “I just think the splits and the numbers get skewed. We’ve only been on the road two or three times. You run into one bad road trip, it looks worse than it is.” Rookie Sean Gallagher (3-1) gave up three runs and six hits while striking out a career-high eight in 52/3 innings for the Cubs. Kerry Wood worked the ninth for his 14th save. Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez (1-6) remained winless since April 8, allowing four runs, three earned, and seven hits in five innings. The Rockies have lost seven straight. Bruce completed his amazing debut week with a solo homer and a run-scoring single. He went 13-for-22 with six walks, two homers, two steals and six RBI in his first six games, the last three of them against Atlanta. Griffey singled, doubled and flied out against Tim Hudson (7-4), who left after straining his left hamstring in the seventh. The crowd of 35,942 booed when Blaine Boyer intentionally walked Griffey later in the inning with Bruce on. “I’m not worried about 600,” Griffey said. “If you hit the ball hard enough, it will go.” His quest to become the sixth to 600 homers now moves to Philadelphia, where Griffey will face right-hander Kyle Kendrick on Monday. Griffey is 4-for-5 career off Kendrick without a homer. The Braves have been nearly unbeatable at Turner Field, going 22-7. Away from home, it’s nearly the identical opposite: Atlanta is 7-21. “It’s mind-boggling,” Hudson said. Johnny Cueto (4-5) allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings for the Reds. Cardinals 7, Pirates 4 At St. Louis, Braden Looper continued his torrid hitting to help earn himself a win. Looper had two singles, scored twice, and drove in a run to raise his batting average to .429 — tops among pitchers in the majors. On the mound, Looper (7-4) allowed eight hits and three runs in 52/3 innings. Ryan Franklin got three outs for his sixth save. Ian Snell (2-5) lost his fifth consecutive decision and is 0-5 in his last nine starts. He allowed six runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. Phillies 7, Marlins 5 Chase Utley hit his major league-leading 20th homer, Pat Burrell had a tiebreaking, two-run double and the Phillies rallied for the win. Utley went deep for the fourth straight game and Geoff Jenkins connected for the second pinch-hit homer of his career to help Philadelphia win the weekend series and move back into first in the NL East. Mike Jacobs hit a solo homer in the second and a three-run drive in the third to help visiting Florida build a 5-1 lead. Jacobs improved to 5-for-8 with three homers in his career against Jamie Moyer (6-3). Brewers 10, Astros 1 At Milwaukee, Ryan Braun and Russell Branyan hit two-run homers and the Brewers finished off a sweep of the weekend series. Milwaukee has won six of seven and earned its first sweep since it took three from San Francisco on April 4-6. Mark Loretta homered for the Astros, who have lost a season-worst five straight. Milwaukee scored four in the first against Shawn Chacon (2-1) and six in the fourth. Chacon lasted just one inning. D’backs 5, Nationals 0 At Phoenix, Dan Haren tossed seven sharp innings and Orlando Hudson hit a three-run homer for Arizona. Haren (6-4) gave up four hits, walked three and struck out five. The Diamondbacks have posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since May 26-27, 2006, at Cincinnati. Brandon Webb beat the Nationals 4-0 on Saturday. Shawn Hill (0-2) went four innings for the Nationals, allowing five runs and seven hits. Mets 6, Dodgers 1 At New York, Johan Santana (7-3) pitched 72/3 innings to earn his 100th win, while Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church each hit a two-run homer to help the suddenly surging Mets win for the fifth time in six games. Back in the lineup after his second concussion this year, Church capped a five-run third with his shot off Hiroki Kuroda (2-5). Church finished with a double and three hits for the Mets (28-27), who took three of four from the Dodgers in manager Joe Torre’s return to New York to win consecutive series for the first time since mid-April. Los Angeles heads home after a 1-6 trip. Giants 4, Padres 3 At San Francisco, pinch-hitter Fred Lewis hit a two-run, game-tying triple off Padres closer Trevor Hoffman in the 10th inning and scored the winning run on Jose Castillo’s infield single. San Diego had taken a 3-1 lead when Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the top half of the inning against Alex Hinshaw (1-0) and appeared on its way to its season-high fourth straight win. But Hoffman (0-4) was unable to hold the lead, blowing his third save of the season and first since April 23.