Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena went back to back on Thursday to help
the Cubs rally past the Washington Nationals 4-3 Thursday.
Ramirez's two-run shot in the seventh was his 21st of the season,
and gave him 16 homers since June 25, the most in the major leagues
"However we can score," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "The guys
are hitting the ball out of the ballpark and that's a good thing."
Pena followed Ramirez with a clout that curled around the pole in
right field and landed on Sheffield Avenue and put the cubs up 4-1.
"You like to be able to create any way you can, but the longball
is still a part of it," Quade said.
Ryan Dempster (10-8) limited Washington to a first-inning home
run by Ryan Zimmerman and went seven innings, allowing three hits,
walking two and striking out six.
Washington loaded the bases and scored a run in the ninth against
Carlos Marmol, but he recovered to get his 26th save.
Wilson Ramos hit a high chopper off Marmol that he beat out for
an infield single, scoring Jonny Gomes. But Marmol struck out Brian
Bixler and got Rick Ankiel on a fly ball to the wall in center to
end the game.
"Marm gutted it out," Quade said. "That was something. I'm out
Marmol has converted seven straight saves since returning to the
closer's role on July 31. He was pitching for the third straight
"When you ask a guy to come out for a third day, you're always
worried," Quade said. "He's done it before. He just wasn't as sharp
"He could have collapsed at any time there and didn't. Got back
in the strike zone when he needed to. Just a gutsy performance on a
day when he didn't have his (best) stuff."
Washington also scored a run in the eighth, when pinch-hitter
Bixler hit an infield single. Ankiel followed with a single, but
Cubs reliever Kerry Wood struck out Danny Espinosa and Zimmerman.
Wood has struck out the last eight batters he's faced, tying the
Cubs' record for all pitchers since the mounds were lowered in 1969.
Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann (7-10) allowed four runs and
nine hits in 6 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven.
The Cubs have won nine of their last 11 games and got their third
straight series win at home, something they hadn't done since 2009.
"It was a fun day for us," Dempster said. "It was a good way to
end a homestand."
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Zimmermann held the Cubs to one run on six hits through six
innings but ran into trouble after striking out the first two
batters of the seventh. Johnson laced his third single of the game
into left field. Ramirez followed with a shot into the left-field
bleachers, putting the Cubs up 3-1 before Pena's homer chased
"Threw a halfway decent slider to Ramirez but he was sitting on
it and it doesn't take much to hit it out of here," Zimmermann
said. "He got the bat on it, got it up and it was a home run.
"And then the pitch to Pena was the first changeup of the day and
probably the worst choice I made all day. I don't really know why I
Dempster won his third straight start and reached 10 wins for
fourth straight season. He's won 10 or more seven times in career.
Only Fergie Jenkins (15) and Reggie Cleveland (8) have more 10-win
seasons among Canadian-born pitchers.
Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI triple and Reed Johnson added three
singles for Chicago. Johnson went 7 for 8 at the plate over the last
two games of the series.
Zimmerman opened the scoring in the first when he homered onto
Waveland Avenue beyond the left-field bleachers to extend his
hitting streak to 19 games, the second-longest active streak in the
big leagues behind the 31-game streak of Atlanta's Dan Uggla.
Chicago tied it in the fourth on Soriano's RBI triple. Right
fielder Jayson Werth dove for the ball but it clipped the end of
this glove and rolled to the wall. Byrd scored and Soriano wound up
at third with his first triple since Aug. 23 of last season.
Zimmermann reached 145 innings for the season, leaving him two or
three starts left before he reaches his limit of 160 for the season.
He had Tommy John surgery nearly two years ago.
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