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Pittsburgh at Chicago

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Pittsburgh (66-88)1150000018123
Chi. Cubs (81-73) «41200510x13160

Ramirez's two three-run HRs lead Cubs over Pirates

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- The wind whipping out on a warm afternoon, the Chicago Cubs found the perfect conditions to pad their home run total and strengthen their lead in the NL Central.

"It was a good day to hit. But you can't blame the wind. You still got to hit the ball," said Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who connected on a pair of three-run homers to lead a wild 13-8 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.

"You can't look up there," Ramirez said of the wind gusting to 21 mph that was moving the flags. "If you try to hit home runs, I guarantee you won't hit them."

Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto also homered for the Cubs, who overcame a shaky performance from starter Jason Marquis to send the Pirates to their seventh straight loss.

Chicago, with eight games remaining, remained 1½ games in front of Milwaukee in the division. The Brewers beat Atlanta 4-1 on Friday night.

"You can't get excited. Anything can happen. Milwaukee is a good team," Ramirez said. "Hopefully we can separate ourselves from them right now, but you never know."

Ramirez hit a three-run homer in the first off Paul Maholm, a shot well over the left field bleachers. He delivered another three-run shot, his 25th homer of the season, off Franquelis Osoria (0-2) to break a 7-7 tie in the sixth. It came right after Pirates' second baseman Freddy Sanchez dropped a flip on a perfect double-play ball.

With Soriano at first and one out, Derrek Lee hit a hard grounder to short, but Sanchez couldn't catch the throw from Matt Kata that could have led to the side being retired. Instead, Ramirez capitalized on the miscue and put the Cubs ahead.

Two batters later, Soto hit a two-run homer off John Grabow, and the Cubs had a five-run lead.

"It was one of those things, it was a little quick and it gets away from you," Sanchez said. "It's going to happen. But I probably should've just tried to get one, then two."

Soriano hit his 29th homer leading off the bottom of the first. The Cubs added another run in the seventh when Lee had an RBI single after the Pirates' third error of the game. Ramirez nearly followed with his third homer of the game, flying out to the wall.

Scott Eyre (2-1) pitched the top of the sixth for the win.

By the bottom of the third inning, both starters had been driven out, the game was tied at 7 and the teams had already combined for 19 hits.

"This was a Wrigley Field game that I've heard so much about," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said, praising his bullpen that didn't give up a run for 5 1/3 innings until Xavier Nady homered off Ryan Dempster in the ninth.

Piniella said the victory puts the onus on the Brewers. "They see that we posted a win and they got to duplicate that," said Piniella, who had no plans to watch the Brewers on TV.

"I'm going to dinner," he said. "One game over here today was plenty for me."

Maholm, who entered the game with a 4-0 career record against the Cubs, had given up 11 hits and 10 runs to the Astros last Sunday in just 2 2/3 innings.

This time he didn't make it that far, going two-plus innings and surrendering 10 hits and seven runs, six earned.

Marquis got off to a shaky start in the first, giving up a leadoff single to Nyjer Morgan, two walks and two stolen bases. All the Pirates could manage after loading the bases was Nady's RBI fielder's choice grounder for a 1-0 lead. The Cubs then responded with four in the bottom half on the homers by Soriano and Ramirez.

Cesar Izturis' two-out RBI triple in a five-run third put the Pirates ahead 6-5 and finished Marquis, who surrendered eight hits and seven runs in 2 2/3 innings.

McLouth's single, a double by Adam LaRoche, an RBI grounder from Nady, a run-scoring double down the third base line by Jose Bautista and an RBI single up the middle by Ronny Paulino tied the game. Izturis, traded to Pittsburgh from Chicago on July 19, then hit a ball into the right field corner for three bases.

Will Ohman relieved and Maholm popped a bunt over his head and behind the mound for an RBI single that made it 7-5.

Pinch-hitter Ronny Cedeno had a bases-loaded RBI single and Osoria uncorked a wild pitch to let in a run in the third as the Cubs tied the game at 7.

Notes

  • It was Maholm's shortest outing of the season, and the second-shortest for Marquis. He lasted 1 2/3 innings against Atlanta on June 9.
  • Izturis had irritation in his right elbow and was replaced at short by Kata to start the bottom of the fourth.
  • Piniella got his 1,600th career managerial victory to move past Tommy Lasorda for sole possession of 16th place on the all-time list.
 
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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It's out of here! Aramis Ramirez knows it the moment the ball leaves his bat for a three-run home run. (AP)
It's out of here! Aramis Ramirez knows it the moment the ball leaves his bat for a three-run home run. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

A. Ramirez
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 6
Chicago

D. Lee
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 

Related Video

Pittsburgh Pirates
Nyjer Morgan, CF5121001 .267
Nate McLouth, LF4110121 .255
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4000122 .306
Adam LaRoche, 1B3110211 .273
Xavier Nady, RF4113110 .286
Jose Bautista, 3B4121104 .260
Ronny Paulino, C5111022 .262
Cesar Izturis, SS2221000 .259
    Matt Kata, SS3010001 .217
Paul Maholm, P2011011 .186
    Franquelis Osoria, P1000000 .000
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
   a- Josh Phelps, PH1000012 .305
    Bryan Bullington, P0000000 .500
    Juan Perez, P0000000 .000
Totals388128610  
a-struck out for Grabow in the 7th
Batting
2B - Adam LaRoche (37, Marquis), Jose Bautista (33, Marquis), Cesar Izturis (13, Marquis)
3B - Cesar Izturis (2, Marquis)
HR - Xavier Nady (19, Dempster)
RBI - Nyjer Morgan (4), Xavier Nady 3 (70), Jose Bautista (62), Ronny Paulino (55), Cesar Izturis (14), Paul Maholm (5)
2-OUT RBI - Nyjer Morgan (2), Jose Bautista (22), Ronny Paulino (20), Cesar Izturis (7), Paul Maholm (5)
SB - Nyjer Morgan (5, 2nd base off Marquis/Soto), Nate McLouth (21, 2nd base off Marquis/Soto)
CS - Nyjer Morgan (2, 2nd base by Marquis/Soto)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Kata-F. Sanchez-LaRoche
E - Jose Bautista (17, Throwing), Cesar Izturis (8, Throwing), Freddy Sanchez (8, Missed catch of throw)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Paul Maholm 21076032 5.02
Franquelis Osoria (L,0-2) 3.1232031 4.44
John Grabow 0.2222001 3.88
Bryan Bullington 1210000 6.00
Juan Perez 1000200 3.60
HBP - DeRosa (by Paul Maholm)
WP - Franquelis Osoria (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Maholm 61-37, Franquelis Osoria 42-28, John Grabow 9-5, Bryan Bullington 13-9, Juan Perez 17-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Maholm 3-1, Franquelis Osoria 4-4, John Grabow 1-1, Juan Perez 2-0
Batters Faced - Paul Maholm 18, Franquelis Osoria 13, John Grabow 4, Bryan Bullington 5, Juan Perez 4
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF5221013 .293
Mark DeRosa, 2B4210014 .297
Derrek Lee, 1B5331002 .313
Aramis Ramirez, 3B5226001 .314
Matt Murton, RF4120011 .275
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
    Kerry Wood, P0000000 .000
   a- Henry Blanco, PH1000000 .170
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .000
Geovany Soto, C4222101 .400
Craig Monroe, CF2110011 .224
    Felix Pie, CF2000110 .212
Ryan Theriot, SS5020001 .269
Jason Marquis, P1000012 .129
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
   b- Ronny Cedeno, PH1011000 .164
    Kevin Hart, P0000000 .000
   c- Sam Fuld, PH1000000 .000
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
    Jacque Jones, RF1000000 .273
Totals4113161126  
a-grounded out for Wood in the 8th
b-singled for Ohman in the 3rd
c-grounded out for Hart in the 5th
Batting
2B - Derrek Lee (40, Maholm)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (29, Maholm), Aramis Ramirez 2 (25, Maholm, Osoria), Geovany Soto (3, Grabow)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (60), Derrek Lee (75), Aramis Ramirez 6 (98), Geovany Soto 2 (6), Ronny Cedeno (9)
2-OUT RBI - Derrek Lee (26)
Team LOB - 7
Chicago Cubs
Jason Marquis 2.2877210 4.35
Will Ohman 0.1100000 5.05
Kevin Hart 2000230 0.93
Scott Eyre (W,2-1) 1000100 4.32
Carlos Marmol 1100130 1.23
Kerry Wood 1000020 4.19
Ryan Dempster 1211011 4.16
IBB - LaRoche by Jason Marquis
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Marquis 55-35, Will Ohman 4-3, Kevin Hart 33-21, Scott Eyre 13-7, Carlos Marmol 19-12, Kerry Wood 13-9, Ryan Dempster 20-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Marquis 3-3, Will Ohman 1-0, Kevin Hart 2-1, Scott Eyre 2-1, Ryan Dempster 1-1
Batters Faced - Jason Marquis 17, Will Ohman 2, Kevin Hart 8, Scott Eyre 4, Carlos Marmol 5, Kerry Wood 3, Ryan Dempster 5
Game Information
Attendance - 41591
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Phil Cuzzi