Cubbies leaving Brewers all wet
Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008 6:26 pm
By: By The Associated Press
The Chicago Cubs arrived in Milwaukee at the beginning of the week with a one-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
It doesn’t look like that any more.
Alfonso Soriano reached base five times and Ryan Dempster pitched seven strong innings to lead Chicago to its third straight win over Milwaukee, 7-2 on Wednesday night.
The Cubs, who lead the Brewers and St. Louis by four games, will try for a four-game sweep tonight.
“Games in your own division are huge. Games in your own division with teams that are right behind you, come in here one game up, it could have easily turned around and been the other way,” Dempster said. “We knew we had to play good baseball.”
In other NL games on Wednesday, it was: Philadelphia 8, Washington 5; Florida 7, New York 5; Los Angeles 4, San Francisco 0; Arizona 7, San Diego 3; St. Louis 7, Atlanta 2; Cincinnati 9, Houston 5; and Colorado 7, Pittsburgh 4.
Dempster (12-4) struck out nine and gave up one run and five hits.
He won consecutive road starts in the same season for the first time since 2001 as the Cubs improved to 25-30 away from home this year.
“I know the road’s different, everything’s different,” Dempster said. “Notoriously, teams don’t play as well on the road and individuals usually don’t do as well on the road, but for me, I feel like I’ve been pitching well on the road.”
The Brewers have lost a season-high four straight at home. Chicago has handled Milwaukee’s top starters so far, getting the better of reigning AL Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia on Monday, four-time All-Star Ben Sheets on Tuesday and emerging left-hander Manny Parra (9-4) on Wednesday. The Cubs have 20 runs and 40 hits in the series.
“They’re hitting pitches they’re getting fisted on. They’re getting them over the infield or hitting it up the middle,” Parra said. “I don’t know how really to defense that. Right now they’re on fire.”
Soriano had three hits and two walks, and is 6-for-12 with three stolen bases in the series.
“That’s my game. That’s what I play. I play very aggressive on the bases and very aggressive at home plate,” Soriano said. “The most important thing, I feel healthy. When I feel healthy, I’ve been able to do what I’m doing now.”
Soriano came off the disabled list last week after missing six weeks with a broken left hand.
“I felt the presence of Soriano in our lineup would mean a lot to us from an offensive standpoint,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “And it has. You can see the difference in production.”
Up 2-1, the Cubs opened a comfortable lead in the sixth inning when Dempster and Soriano singled before Ryan Theriot’s triple chased Parra.
Cardinals 7, Braves 2
Chris Carpenter pitched four solid innings in his first start since April 2007 and Albert Pujols drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh for St. Louis.
Carpenter, who won the NL Cy Young Award in 2005, spent the past year recovering from ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow.
He allowed one run and five hits.
He threw 67 pitches, striking out two and walking two.
The Braves left the bases loaded three times and stranded 14 runners.
Casey Kotchman, acquired Tuesday in the blockbuster deal that sent Mark Teixeira to the Los Angeles Angels, grounded out with the bases loaded to end the eighth and went 0-for-5 in his Atlanta debut.
Phillies 8, Nationals 5
Chase Utley homered in a five-run fifth inning for Philadelphia, which moved back atop the NL East with its fourth straight victory.
Shane Victorino had three hits and three RBI, including a solo homer, to help Jamie Moyer (10-6) win his third straight decision. Moyer went six innings, allowing three runs — on first-inning homers by Willie Harris and Jesus Flores — and six hits. Brad Lidge pitched around a leadoff double in the ninth for his 26th save.
Tim Redding (7-6) faced five batters in the fifth and they scored. The Nationals, a major league-worst 38-69, have lost eight straight.
Marlins 7, Mets 5
Josh Johnson pitched 62/3 innings for his first victory in almost two years. Johnson (1-0) allowed eight hits and four runs in his fourth start since returning from reconstructive elbow surgery in August 2007. Johnson, who doubled home a run, last won on Aug. 28, 2006.
Jeremy Hermida and Cody Ross both tripled in a five-run fourth inning against Mike Pelfrey (9-7), who lost for the first time in his past eight decisions.
Pinch-hitter Damion Easley hit a three-run homer off Johnson in the seventh to cut the Mets’ deficit to 5-4, but Dan Uggla hit a two-run homer in the eighth for Florida.
Dodgers 4, Giants 0
Chad Billingsley (11-9) pitched a five-hitter for his first career shutout. The win was the fourth by shutout in the past five games for the Dodgers and their 10th of the season — all at Dodger Stadium.
They have won five of six and are 8-4 since the All-Star break.
Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to 17 games for the Dodgers (54-53), who moved above .500 for the first time since May 27.
The Giants have lost five of six and are 4-8 since the break.
D’backs 7, Padres 3
Dan Haren pitched seven solid innings and Chad Tracy and Mark Reynolds drove in two runs each for Arizona. Haren (11-5) gave up a leadoff homer to Jody Gerut, but went on to win his third straight start, allowing three runs and seven hits.
Arizona used a four-run fifth to overcome a 3-1 deficit. Tracy’s two-run single put the Diamondbacks ahead 5-3 and knocked Cha Seung Baek (5-3) out of the game.
Reds 9, Astros 5
Adam Dunn homered twice and Ken Griffey Jr. added a three-run shot as Cincinnati snapped an eight-game losing streak against Houston.
Edinson Volquez (13-4) allowed one earned run and six hits, but the Astros chased him in the seventh with four unearned runs after two errors by shortstop Jeff Keppinger.
Griffey’s homer was his 608th, moving him within one of Sammy Sosa for fifth all-time. Griffey extended his hitting streak to 12 games and has 1,139 extra-base hits, one behind Ty Cobb for 10th all-time.
Wandy Rodriguez (6-4) gave up the homers to Dunn and Griffey and lost for the first time in four starts.
Rockies 7, Pirates 4
Aaron Cook won his 14th game to tie for the major league lead and Troy Tulowitzki had three hits as Colorado avoided a sweep.
Chris Iannetta hit a three-run homer and Garrett Atkins, Matt Holliday and Willy Taveras had two hits each for Colorado, which improved to 10-3 since the All-Star break.
Cook (14-6) went seven innings, allowing four runs and nine hits to win his third straight start.