Monday, August 25, 2008
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Harden K's 11, DeRosa homers as Cubs beat Nats 6-1

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[August 25, 2008]  CHICAGO (AP) -- Rich Harden matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts, Mark DeRosa homered for the fourth straight game and the streaking Chicago Cubs took their eighth straight series with a 6-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

Harden, 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA since his July trade from Oakland, reached double-digit strikeouts for the seventh time in his career and fifth time in eight starts with the Cubs.

RestaurantChicago (80-50) moved 30 games over .500, while the Nationals managed just four hits and lost their fifth straight series.

DeRosa became the first Cubs player to homer in four straight games since Fred McGriff did it in September 2001, and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome showed signs of ending his hitting funk when he drove a pinch-hit homer to right in the eighth. He was hitless in his last four games, continuing his second-half swoon that saw his average dip to .262.

The Cubs took a 3-0 lead in the second against Jason Bergmann. DeRosa led off with his 18th homer, Jim Edmonds walked and Geovany Soto hit a 3-1 pitch to left for his 19th homer.

Nationals outfielder Austin Kearns provided the Nationals' only offense with a solo homer that fell just inside the foul pole in left in the third. Three of the game's first four hits were home runs, an oddity on a day when the wind was blowing in at 10 mph.


Harden struck out the side in the seventh to tie his career-high, which he accomplished with Oakland earlier this season. He gave up two hits in seven innings.

Harden has struck out 21 in 14 innings, with zero walks, in his last two starts.

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was Harden's biggest victim Sunday, striking out all three times he faced the right-hander.

Bergmann (2-10) gave up four runs, four hits and four walks. He was solid for a while after the Cubs' three-run second, giving up only one hit -- a wind-aided bloop double by Aramis Ramirez in the sixth -- until Mike Fontenot doubled with one out in the seventh.

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The slumping Fukudome then came to the plate, hearing some boos thanks to his .145 average in August, and took two balls from Steven Shell before sending his ninth homer to the bleachers in right. Fukudome watched video of himself with manager Lou Piniella before the game, though neither talked to the media.

Carlos Marmol loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth but struck out Cristian Guzman looking with a slider.

Notes: Cubs 1B Derrek Lee sat with upper back spasms after aggravating a lingering injury. Lee said he suffers occasional spasms in his neck and the left side of his upper back, but it rarely causes him to miss time. Daryle Ward started at first base for Lee for only the third time this season. ... Soto tied Randy Hundley for most home runs by a Cubs rookie catcher. ... DeRosa improved his career-high home run total. ... Harden struck out 11 against Philadelphia on June 26.

[Associated Press; By R.B. FALLSTROM]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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