Surging Cubbies ransack Pirates
Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 7:14 pm
By: By The Associated Press
Aramis Ramirez hit a three-run homer and Chicago Cubs improved baseball’s best record with a 12-3 thumping of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Two slumping hitters, Jim Edmonds and Kosuke Fukudome, also had big games as the Cubs moved to 81-50 — the first time they’ve been 31 games above .500 since they ended the 1984 season 96-65.
Fukudome, hitting .161 in August when the game began, drove in four runs. Edmonds had a triple and two doubles after going 0-for-17 over his previous seven games.
Ted Lilly (13-7) pitched seven effective innings for the Cubs, who have won three straight and 23 of 31. He gave up homers to Brandon Moss and Adam LaRoche but still handed the Pirates their fifth consecutive loss and ninth in 11 games. Chicago has won 11 of its last 12 road games.
Otherwise in the NL, the Mets and Phillies, face to face, with first place up for grabs. And it appears Jimmy Rollins has found his stroke just in time.
The NL East rivals both won big Monday, setting up their two-game showdown for the division lead starting Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
Carlos Delgado hit a pair of three-run homers and Mike Pelfrey threw his second straight complete game, leading New York to a 9-1 victory over the Houston Astros at Shea Stadium.
The Phillies also got an impressive pitching performance. Brett Myers extended his shutout streak to 16 innings and Philadelphia finished a four-game sweep of the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers with a 5-0 win.
Now, after taking turns in first place since the All-Star break, the Mets and Phillies go toe-to-toe. New York begins the series up by a half-game.
“It means we have to go get two more,” Rollins, the scourge of Mets fans, said after a big game Monday night. “It’s no more important than the four games we have in Chicago after. Every game is the playoffs right now.”
Pedro Martinez is scheduled to start the opener for New York against 45-year-old Jamie Moyer in the first of five remaining matchups between the clubs.
Johan Santana goes in Wednesday’s finale against Philadelphia’s Kyle Kendrick.
Of course, it was the Phillies who charged past the Mets last September, taking advantage of New York’s massive collapse to win the division crown.
With revenge on their minds, the Mets have won nine of 13 meetings this season.
In other NL games, it was: San Diego 4, Arizona 2; and Colorado 4, San Francisco 2.
Myers tossed seven gritty innings and Rollins went 3-for-3 with two RBI as the Phillies completed their first four-game sweep of Los Angeles in 23 years. Philadelphia, which has won eight of 10 since losing four straight at Dodger Stadium, had never swept Los Angeles in a four-game series at home.
Rollins broke out of a 4-for-46 slump since calling Philadelphia fans “front-runners” in a television interview almost two weeks ago. The 2007 NL MVP tripled, doubled and reached base five times in his first multihit game since Aug. 13. He got his first extra-base hits since Aug. 12 and his first RBIs since Aug. 11.
“He was patient, he had short, quick swings and stayed on the ball,” manager Charlie Manuel said of his speedy leadoff hitter.
Coming off his first shutout in four years, Myers (7-10) allowed nine hits, struck out eight and walked three to help the Phillies move a season-high 13 games above .500 for the first time since June 13.
Myers has been outstanding following a trip to the minors. The Phillies demoted their opening-day starter on July 1 after he went 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA in his first 17 starts. Since returning, he is 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA in seven starts.
J.C. Romero worked the eighth and Clay Condrey finished the 13-hitter. Only two teams have had more hits without scoring a run in a nine-inning game: The New York Giants got 14 hits in a 7-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 14, 1913, and Cleveland had 14 in a 9-0 loss to the Washington Senators on July 10, 1928.
Padres 4, Diamondbacks 2
At San Diego, Jody Gerut hit a two-run homer off Jon Rauch (4-5) in the ninth inning to snap the Padres’ seven-game slide.
First-place Arizona remained three games ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West.
Trevor Hoffman (2-6) got the win. Dan Haren and Jake Peavy both pitched well in an entertaining duel
Rockies 4, Giants 2
At San Francisco, Jeff Francis (4-8) got his first victory in more than two months and Yorvit Torrealba homered off Matt Cain (8-10) to help Colorado win for the eighth time in 10 games.
Brian Fuentes earned his 26th save, ending the Giants’ season-high five-game winning streak.