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Colorado at Chicago

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Colorado (20-34)0001021004112
Chi. Cubs (33-21) «10110023x8112

Soriano caps Cubs' late surge with two-run single

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- For one night at least, the Chicago Cubs are the best team in baseball. It's a title they might not give up without a fight.

Alfonso Soriano's two-run single capped a late charge for the streaking Cubs, who won their fourth straight by beating the Colorado Rockies 8-4 on Thursday night.

At 33-21, the Cubs have the best record in the majors and one more victory than Boston, Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis.

"We have a good team," Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said. "We expect to win. We're just living up to our own expectations."

In a sometimes sloppy game, the Cubs outlasted their visitors. Chicago scored five runs in the last two innings as Rockies pitchers committed two throwing errors that led to three unearned runs. Colorado lost its fourth straight and ninth in a row on the road.

At 20-34, the Rockies are tied with Seattle for the worst record in baseball.

"That's kind of been that little rock in our shoe," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said of the team's shoddy defense.

Soriano scored on Matt Herges' error to tie the game in the seventh and Geovany Soto's sacrifice fly scored Ryan Theriot to give the Cubs the lead. Pinch-hitter Micah Hoffpauir got his first career RBI in the eighth, hitting a broken-bat single up the middle to score Mark DeRosa, and Soriano followed with a hit up the middle to score two more.

"It was a good come-from-behind win," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "They're playing with confidence. If we get down we have that feeling we can come from behind and win a baseball game. It's a good feeling."

Carlos Marmol struck out two in the eighth and Kerry Wood struck out the side in the ninth.

The Cubs trailed 4-3 going into the seventh. Soriano singled and moved to third on Theriot's single. Lee hit a dribbler toward third that was fielded by Herges, who hesitated before making a late, low throw to first that ended up in shallow right, allowing Soriano to score.

"That's a play we work at day-in, day-out in spring training," Hurdle said.

Herges (2-2) then hit Aramis Ramirez and Soto's flyout made it 5-4. It was the third time this season the rookie catcher has driven in the eventual winning run and second successive game in which he has hit a big sacrifice fly. He has knocked in 37 runs, tied for second-best on the team.

"I just wanted to have a quality at-bat there," Soto said. "Once I got to two strikes, I just wanted to drive the ball to the outfield. He gave me a good pitch to hit."

Rockies reliever Taylor Buchholz made another throwing error in the eighth, allowing Reed Johnson to reach on a bunt. Johnson scored on Soriano's single.

"We could have made some plays in the field that sure would have made things easier for us," Hurdle said.

Ian Stewart, just recalled from the minors last week, was a home run away from the cycle for the Rockies. He ripped an RBI double to left off Michael Wuertz (1-1) in the seventh to give the Rockies their brief lead. Ryan Spilborghs led off the inning with a single and stole second before Stewart knocked him in.

Rockies pinch-hitter Willy Taveras tied it in the sixth with a two-run single against Neal Cotts that glanced off Lee's outstretched glove at first.

Colorado was 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.

"We know we haven't played the way we know we can," said Jeff Francis, who got a no-decision for Colorado. "That's disappointing to everyone in here."

Cubs starter Jason Marquis was charged with three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, while Francis gave up three runs and six hits in five innings. The Cubs committed two errors and took advantage of even worse defense by the Rockies.

"We didn't play great defense," Lee said. "Jason pitched a good game. He deserved better. But our offense picked us up. It doesn't matter how you get it done. Ugly wins, we'll take them."

Ramirez's double scored Theriot in the first and Lee's 13th home run made it 2-0. Stewart led off the top of the fourth with a triple and scored on Torrealba's sacrifice fly to make it 2-1.

The Cubs added another run in the fourth when Kosuke Fukudome doubled and scored on Johnson's single.

Notes

  • The Cubs have held a lead in 20 consecutive games.
  • Cubs pinch-hitter Daryle Ward (bulging disc) is probably 10 days away from returning to the active roster, Piniella said. Ward said he should start taking batting practice in two days.
  • Cotts, a star reliever for the 2005 White Sox, had been in the minors for more than a year, after the Cubs optioned him May 20, 2007.
  • Chicago is 23-8 at home.
  • Theriot reached base four times.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Kerry Wood is all smiles after striking out the side in the ninth to cap the Cubs' victory.  (AP)
Kerry Wood is all smiles after striking out the side in the ninth to cap the Cubs' victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

A. Soriano
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Colorado

I. Stewart
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Colorado Rockies
Scott Podsednik, CF3000001 .250
   a- Willy Taveras, PH-CF2012010 .245
Seth Smith, RF5020022 .292
    Taylor Buchholz, P0000000 .000
    Alberto Arias, P0000000 .000
Todd Helton, 1B3010221 .281
Garrett Atkins, 3B5000027 .322
Ryan Spilborghs, LF5130003 .320
Ian Stewart, 2B5231012 .316
Yorvit Torrealba, C3111001 .223
Omar Quintanilla, SS3000113 .239
Jeff Francis, P1000002 .125
   b- Jeff Baker, PH1000013 .188
    Manny Corpas, P0000000 .000
    Matt Herges, P0000000 .000
   c- Cory Sullivan, PH-RF1000000 .200
Totals374114310  
a-singled for Podsednik in the 6th
b-struck out for Francis in the 6th
c-flied out for Herges in the 8th
Batting
2B - Todd Helton (11, Marquis), Ryan Spilborghs (6, Marquis), Ian Stewart (2, Wuertz)
3B - Ian Stewart (1, Marquis)
SF - Yorvit Torrealba (2)
SH - Jeff Francis (8)
RBI - Willy Taveras 2 (9), Ian Stewart (1), Yorvit Torrealba (13)
SB - Ryan Spilborghs (4, 2nd base off Wuertz/Soto)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Atkins-Helton, Quintanilla-Stewart-Helton
E - Taylor Buchholz (1, Throwing), Matt Herges (1, Throwing)
Colorado Rockies
Jeff Francis 5633251 6.12
Manny Corpas 1000100 5.60
Matt Herges (L,2-2) 1220020 3.64
Taylor Buchholz0332000 1.84
Alberto Arias 1000100 3.18
HBP - Ramirez (by Matt Herges)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Francis 85-52, Manny Corpas 11-5, Matt Herges 34-21, Taylor Buchholz 16-11, Alberto Arias 10-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Francis 4-6, Manny Corpas 1-1, Matt Herges 1-1, Taylor Buchholz 1-0, Alberto Arias 1-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Francis 23, Manny Corpas 3, Matt Herges 7, Taylor Buchholz 4, Alberto Arias 3
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF5122003 .287
Ryan Theriot, SS3220210 .317
Derrek Lee, 1B5111013 .292
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4011002 .301
Geovany Soto, C3001012 .299
Kosuke Fukudome, RF3110112 .305
Mark DeRosa, 2B3010112 .308
    Ronny Cedeno, PR-2B0100000 .321
Reed Johnson, CF3121001 .262
Jason Marquis, P1000012 .158
    Neal Cotts, P0000000 .000
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
   a- Mike Fontenot, PH1000010 .246
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
   b- Micah Hoffpauir, PH1111000 .417
    Kerry Wood, P0000000 .000
Totals32811747  
a-struck out for Wuertz in the 7th
b-singled for Marmol in the 8th
Batting
2B - Aramis Ramirez (14, Francis), Kosuke Fukudome (13, Francis), Mark DeRosa (13, Buchholz)
HR - Derrek Lee (13, Francis)
SF - Geovany Soto (3)
SH - Reed Johnson (2), Jason Marquis (1)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano 2 (31), Derrek Lee (37), Aramis Ramirez (38), Geovany Soto (37), Reed Johnson (24), Micah Hoffpauir (1)
2-OUT RBI - Aramis Ramirez (13)
SB - Reed Johnson (2, 3rd base off Buchholz/Torrealba), Micah Hoffpauir (1, 2nd base off Buchholz/Torrealba)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Reed Johnson 1
DP - Johnson-DeRosa
E - Mark DeRosa (6, Misplayed grounder), Ryan Theriot (6, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
Jason Marquis 5.1733230 4.98
Neal Cotts (BS,1) 0.1100110 0.00
Michael Wuertz (W,1-1) 1.1211010 3.12
Carlos Marmol (H,15) 1000020 1.59
Kerry Wood 1100030 3.14
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Marquis 95-53, Neal Cotts 19-14, Michael Wuertz 19-13, Carlos Marmol 13-9, Kerry Wood 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Marquis 11-4, Michael Wuertz 1-1
Batters Faced - Jason Marquis 27, Neal Cotts 3, Michael Wuertz 5, Carlos Marmol 3, Kerry Wood 4
Game Information
Attendance - 39851
Game Time - 3:14
Temperature - 56
Umpires - Home - Gerry Davis, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Brian O'Nora