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Chi. Cubs (27-32) «2102102019150
Atlanta (33-29)001000000163

Soriano hits three homers in four innings as Cubs roll over Braves

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- When Alfonso Soriano had only four homers in 190 at-bats through May, he was starting to hear boos from impatient Chicago Cubs fans.

Soriano proved with three homers in his first three at-bats Friday night that the early-season power slump is history.

Soriano was 4-for-5 with the three homers in the first four innings and the Cubs continued their strong road play by beating the Atlanta Braves 9-1 on Friday night.

The Cubs have won five of their last six games, including two straight over the Braves.

The Braves have lost six of seven, including four straight in which they have scored a combined seven runs.

Soriano is 13-for-23 (.565) with four homers as the Cubs have won four of five games on their road trip. He hit homers in three straight games last week and has six already in June.

"This is what we were looking for," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "He's starting to give it to us.

"I tell you, when he's swinging the bat well, he's certainly fun to watch."

Soriano led off the game with a homer off Lance Cormier's first pitch before adding another first-pitch homer in the second inning.

Soriano's third homer came in the fourth inning, leaving him in excellent position to become the 16th major league player -- and the first Cub -- to hit four homers in a game.

"I was trying to hit it hard and make a good swing and see what happens," said Soriano, who walked, grounded out and singled to left in his final three plate appearances.

Soriano didn't become the first Cubs player to hit four homers in a game, but he called his second career three-homer game "very exciting for me."

"I feel very good, especially after I hit a home run with the first pitch," he said.

Soriano lifted his batting average to .326 with the four hits.

The sight of Soriano crunching a fat fastball to lead off the game made Braves manager Bobby Cox cringe.

"Number one, he's a great hitter," Cox said. "Number two, you have to make good pitches to a good hitter. We didn't even come close to doing that."

In the fifth inning, Braves reliever Oscar Villarreal threw three balls to Soriano before issuing an intentional walk. The walk drew boos from the fans at Turner Field but didn't surprise Cubs pitcher Sean Marshall.

When asked how he'd pitch to Soriano, Marshall said "I would have walked him."

Soriano, facing reliever Blaine Boyer in the seventh, grounded out to shortstop Edgar Renteria. He singled and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double in the ninth against Chad Paronto.

Soriano's only other three-homer game also came against the Braves on April 21, 2006, while playing for the Nationals in Washington.

The three homers gave Soriano 10 for the season.

Marshall (2-2) gave up only four hits and one run in six innings in his second win over the Braves in six days.

Marshall walked two batters and had four strikeouts. He also beat the Braves 9-1 Sunday in Chicago, when he gave up six hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings.

It was the second straight strong start against Atlanta by a Cubs' left-hander. Rich Hill gave up three hits in eight innings in Thursday night's 2-1 win over the Braves.

The Cubs improved to 16-15 in road games, including 4-1 on their current road trip.

Cormier (0-2) gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Cormier, who allowed nine baserunners and three runs in the first two innings, gave up five hits and walked six batters. He walked Mark DeRosa with the bases loaded in the first to force in the Cubs' second run.

In two starts against the Cubs, Cormier has given up 14 hits and 13 runs in 7 2/3 innings. Those are Cormier's only two games since coming off the disabled list.

"Cormier was just a little bit here, a little bit there," Cox said.

"The stuff's there. It's there. It's just, he's rusty."

Michael Barrett hit a homer to left in the fourth to knock Cormier out of the game.

Cesar Izturis led off the fifth with a double off Villarreal and scored from third on Felix Pie's fly ball to left.

The Cubs added two runs off Boyer in the seventh. Felix Pie's single to center drove in Izturis. A throwing error by first baseman Scott Thorman on Derrek Lee's infield hit allowed Pie to score from second.

Pie went 2-for-4 with three RBI.

The Braves, held to only three hits in a 2-1 loss to the Cubs on Thursday night, struggled again. Their only run off Marshall came in the third when Kelly Johnson hit a triple down the right-field line and scored on Yunel Escobar's infield hit.

Notes

  • Braves C Brian McCann was given another day off after having a cortisone shot in his sore right ankle Wednesday but is expected to start Saturday. Jarrod Saltalamacchia started for the third time in five games.
  • OF Cliff Floyd was placed on the bereavement list as he returned to Chicago to be with his sick father. IF Mike Fontenot will be recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Saturday.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Alfonso Soriano goes deep three times against the Braves for the second time in his career.  (US Presswire)
Alfonso Soriano goes deep three times against the Braves for the second time in his career. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Chicago

F. Pie
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Chicago

A. Soriano
AB 5
R 3
H 4
HR 3
RBI 3
 

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Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF5343101 .326
Felix Pie, CF4223120 .286
Derrek Lee, 1B4010202 .336
Michael Barrett, C4121112 .245
Mark DeRosa, 3B4011110 .251
Jacque Jones, RF5020014 .240
Ryan Theriot, 2B5010017 .270
Cesar Izturis, SS4220103 .252
Sean Marshall, P2000002 .000
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
   a- Angel Pagan, PH1100001 .292
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
Totals38915876  
a-hit into fielder's choice for Marmol in the 9th
Batting
2B - Cesar Izturis (8, Villarreal)
HR - Alfonso Soriano 3 (10, Cormier, Cormier, Cormier), Michael Barrett (8, Cormier)
SF - Felix Pie (1)
SH - Sean Marshall 2 (2)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano 3 (21), Felix Pie 3 (12), Michael Barrett (26), Mark DeRosa (29)
2-OUT RBI - Felix Pie 2 (7), Michael Barrett (13)
SB - Felix Pie (2, 2nd base off Cormier/Saltalamacchia), Michael Barrett (2, 2nd base off Moylan/Saltalamacchia), Ryan Theriot (9, 3rd base off Cormier/Saltalamacchia)
Team LOB - 12
Chicago Cubs
Sean Marshall (W,2-2) 6411240 2.08
Will Ohman 1100010 4.60
Carlos Marmol 1000010 0.00
Michael Wuertz 1100000 3.33
Pitches-Strikes - Sean Marshall 94-61, Will Ohman 15-11, Carlos Marmol 13-8, Michael Wuertz 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sean Marshall 10-4, Will Ohman 1-1, Michael Wuertz 2-1
Batters Faced - Sean Marshall 24, Will Ohman 4, Carlos Marmol 3, Michael Wuertz 4
Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B4110001 .286
Yunel Escobar, 3B-SS4021000 .344
Edgar Renteria, SS2000111 .316
   a- Pete Orr, PH-3B1000010 .200
Andruw Jones, CF3000113 .221
Jeff Francoeur, RF4010002 .288
Matt Diaz, LF4010002 .331
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C4000020 .275
Scott Thorman, 1B4000001 .221
Lance Cormier, P1000010 .000
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000 .000
   b- Chris Woodward, PH1000000 .218
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
    Blaine Boyer, P0000000 .000
   c- Willie Harris, PH1010000 .382
    Chad Paronto, P0000000 .000
Totals3316126  
a-struck out for Renteria in the 8th
b-grounded out for Villarreal in the 5th
c-singled for Boyer in the 7th
Batting
3B - Kelly Johnson (5, Marshall)
RBI - Yunel Escobar (3)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Matt Diaz 1
DP - Escobar-Thorman, Paronto-Johnson-Thorman
PB - Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2)
E - Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2, Throwing), Scott Thorman 2 (2, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
Lance Cormier (L,0-2) 3.2555634 15.26
Oscar Villarreal 1.1311100 4.20
Peter Moylan 1100020 2.67
Blaine Boyer 1321010 3.00
Chad Paronto 2310000 6.86
IBB - Lee by Lance Cormier, Soriano by Oscar Villarreal
WP - Lance Cormier (1), Blaine Boyer (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Lance Cormier 87-50, Oscar Villarreal 18-11, Peter Moylan 15-11, Blaine Boyer 26-18, Chad Paronto 22-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Lance Cormier 8-0, Oscar Villarreal 2-2, Blaine Boyer 2-0, Chad Paronto 3-2
Batters Faced - Lance Cormier 22, Oscar Villarreal 8, Peter Moylan 4, Blaine Boyer 6, Chad Paronto 8
Game Information
Attendance - 37123
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Adrian Johnson