Saturday, September 12, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illinois completes futile effort

Soto, Ramirez lead Cubs over Reds

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[September 12, 2009]  CHICAGO (AP) -- Geovany Soto homered for the first time since Aug. 10, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 Friday for their first four-game winning streak in nearly two months.

Aramis Ramirez rebounded from a poor trip to go 3 for 3 with three RBIs for the Cubs. Chicago, coming off a three-game sweep at Pittsburgh, had not won four in a row since taking five straight from Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Houston from July 22-27.

Cincinnati has lost five consecutive games. The Reds (63-78) have had four skids of five games or longer since the All-Star break.

Soto, the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year, had a sacrifice fly in the second inning and hit a solo homer in the fourth, his 10th this season. He batted ,140 (7 for 50) with one home run and four RBIs from Aug. 7, when he came off the disabled list, through Sept. 4, and has four hits and six RBIs since over three games.

Ramirez had as many hits Friday -- three -- as he did in 22 at-bats during a six-game trip that ended Wednesday. He is batting .398 with 31 RBIs in 31 home games, but .241 with 23 RBIs in 35 road games.

Jeff Stevens (1-0) allowed Jonny Gomes' tying three-run homer in the fifth, winning in relief of Rich Harden, who allowed one run, two hits and five walks in four innings, throwing 104 pitches.


Aaron Heilman, Esmailin Caridad and Carlos Marmol combined four innings of one-hit relief to finish the six-hitter, with Marmol getting three outs for his 12th save in 16 chances.

Chicago, which began the day 11 1/2 games back of NL Central-leading St. Louis, is 18-6 against division rivals Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and 54-61 against the other teams on its schedule.

Justin Lehr (4-2), who pitched a four-hit shutout against the Cubs last month, allowed five runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings.

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Ramirez's two-run single gave Chicago a 3-1 lead in the third, and Soto homered in the fourth. Ramirez's RBI single in the fifth put the Cubs ahead for good, and pinch-hitter Bobby Scales doubled in a run in the eighth against Nick Masset.

NOTES: Cubs LF Alfonso Soriano is to get a second opinion on the left knee injury that has sidelined him since Sept. 4, and manager Lou Piniella said it was "doubtful" Soriano will play again this season. Piniella also said Soriano's days of batting leadoff were "over with." Soriano, whose 54 career leadoff homers rank second in major league history to Rickey Henderson's 81, had been hitting sixth since July 4. ... Reds RHP Micah Owings rejoined the team Friday, five days after he was hit in the helmet by a pitch from Atlanta's Kenshin Kawakami. Tests were normal and Owings said he felt fine, but manager Dusty Baker said Owings likely won't play in the series.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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