|Chi. Cubs (86-56) «||0||0||1||1||1||3||3||2||3||14||18||1|
CINCINNATI -- Something about September gets Alfonso Soriano going.
Soriano homered three times at the top of Chicago's retooled batting order, and the first-place Cubs emerged from their longest losing streak of the season by keeping their composure and beating the Cincinnati Reds 14-9 on Saturday night to end a six-game slide.
Soriano was the Cubs' Mr. September last season, leading their final surge toward the NL Central title by hitting a club-record 14 homers in the month. He's been in a slump -- along with much of the lineup -- this time around.
He hit two solo homers off rookie Johnny Cueto (8-13), then connected for a three-run shot off Jared Burton, sending a two-strike pitch deep into the seats in left field. Soriano resisted tens of thousands of Cubs fans who wanted him to take a curtain call -- bad form on the road -- but briefly tipped his cap when he went back to left field.
"I remember last September I hit 14 home runs, but that's in the past," said Soriano, who has 27 for the season. "It's a new September."
It's starting to look a lot like the last one.
"It's amazing," manager Lou Piniella said. "When he hits, our team seems to really respond and do well. I hope he gets another big September because we need it."
The third three-homer game of Soriano's career got the Cubs' offense rolling. Mark DeRosa added a three-run drive and Jason Marquis (10-8) had a solo shot as Chicago piled up a season-high five homers. Derrek Lee had four hits on his 33rd birthday.
In one game, the Cubs scored as many runs as they did in the six losses combined.
"It was too much Soriano tonight," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "A couple of (pitches) were down; that's where he likes them. A couple were out over the plate. When he gets hot, he hits everything."
Sensing a need for change, Piniella shook up the lineup, benching slumping All-Star right fielder Kosuke Fukudome and center fielder Jim Edmonds. He made the right choice by leaving Soriano in the No. 1 spot even though he's been struggling as well.
"That's part of the game," Soriano said. "I come to the park every day with the same energy. I don't lose any confidence."
Piniella also provided a calming presence at a potential meltdown moment. Marquis angrily yelled at plate umpire Brian Runge after Chris Dickerson walked with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, cutting the Cubs' lead to 2-1. The right-hander thought Runge had missed the last two pitches.
"I was a little emotional," Marquis said. "That was a big spot in the game. I meant no disrespect to the umpire. I got caught up in the moment."
Out of the dugout came Piniella, who walked very slowly to the mound, giving his pitcher time to regain his composure. After a soothing chat with Marquis, Piniella also had a few even-tempered words for Runge, making sure the situation didn't escalate.
"I told Marquis, 'Look, don't get the umpire upset,"' Piniella said. "That was really the tone of the conversation."
The crowd of 41,204 represented the Reds' fifth sellout of the season. Most of the fans were wearing blue and rooting for the Cubs, who got their 86th win on Saturday, one more than last season. The Cubs have been in first place since May 11, and lead Milwaukee by four games.
|The Reds get to see a lot of Soriano's swing after Soriano clubs three homers and drives in five. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Alfonso Soriano, LF||5||4||4||5||0||0||0||.291|
|Ronny Cedeno, LF||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.282|
|Ryan Theriot, SS||5||1||2||0||1||0||0||.309|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||6||0||4||3||0||0||2||.296|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||4||2||1||0||0||2||3||.274|
|Mike Fontenot, 2B||1||0||1||1||1||0||0||.301|
|Geovany Soto, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.292|
|a- Koyie Hill, PH-C||2||0||0||0||0||2||4||.500|
|Micah Hoffpauir, RF||4||1||0||1||1||1||2||.333|
|Mark DeRosa, 2B-3B||4||2||1||3||1||0||1||.289|
|Reed Johnson, CF||4||2||2||0||0||0||0||.305|
|Jason Marquis, P||4||1||1||1||0||1||4||.200|
|Jeff Samardzija, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Neal Cotts, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Daryle Ward, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.224|
|Michael Wuertz, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Carlos Marmol, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Soto in the 8th|
|b-flied out for Cotts in the 9th|
|2B - Derrek Lee 2 (35, Cueto, Majewski), Geovany Soto (33, Cueto)|
|HR - Alfonso Soriano 3 (27, Cueto, Cueto, Burton), Mark DeRosa (20, Burton), Jason Marquis (1, Majewski)|
|RBI - Alfonso Soriano 5 (69), Derrek Lee 3 (80), Mike Fontenot (35), Micah Hoffpauir (2), Mark DeRosa 3 (83), Jason Marquis (5)|
|2-OUT RBI - Alfonso Soriano 4 (22), Derrek Lee 2 (16), Mike Fontenot (13), Mark DeRosa 3 (24)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Theriot-DeRosa-Lee|
|E - Derrek Lee (9, Misplayed grounder)|
|Jason Marquis (W,10-8)||7.1||5||2||2||5||2||0||4.36|
|IBB - Bako by Jason Marquis|
|HBP - Encarnacion (by Jeff Samardzija)|
|WP - Carlos Marmol (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jason Marquis 107-58, Jeff Samardzija 17-9, Neal Cotts 12-7, Michael Wuertz 14-5, Carlos Marmol 12-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Marquis 10-9, Jeff Samardzija 1-0, Neal Cotts 1-1, Carlos Marmol 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Jason Marquis 31, Jeff Samardzija 4, Neal Cotts 2, Michael Wuertz 3, Carlos Marmol 5|
|Chris Dickerson, LF||4||0||0||1||1||1||1||.314|
|Jeff Keppinger, SS||5||1||2||0||0||0||3||.266|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||4||2||2||0||1||0||1||.264|
|Joey Votto, 1B||4||1||0||0||1||0||2||.294|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B||3||1||2||0||0||0||0||.252|
|Jolbert Cabrera, PR-3B||1||2||1||4||0||0||0||.296|
|Jay Bruce, RF||3||1||0||0||2||0||1||.258|
|Corey Patterson, CF||4||1||1||1||1||0||0||.202|
|Paul Bako, C||4||0||2||2||1||1||1||.208|
|Johnny Cueto, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||6||.025|
|Jared Burton, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Andy Phillips, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.213|
|Gary Majewski, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Wilkin Castillo, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.333|
|Mike Lincoln, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Javier Valentin, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.246|
|a-flied out for Burton in the 7th|
|b-flied out for Majewski in the 8th|
|c-struck out for Lincoln in the 9th|
|2B - Paul Bako (9, Samardzija)|
|HR - Jolbert Cabrera (2, Marmol)|
|RBI - Chris Dickerson (13), Jolbert Cabrera 4 (8), Corey Patterson (27), Paul Bako 2 (34)|
|2-OUT RBI - Chris Dickerson (7)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Johnny Cueto (L,8-13)||5.1||8||5||5||1||3||2||4.77|
|HBP - Johnson (by Johnny Cueto)|
|WP - Johnny Cueto (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Johnny Cueto 84-57, Jared Burton 27-20, Gary Majewski 24-16, Mike Lincoln 26-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johnny Cueto 8-5, Jared Burton 2-2, Gary Majewski 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Johnny Cueto 26, Jared Burton 9, Gary Majewski 7, Mike Lincoln 8|
|Attendance - 41204|
|Game Time - 3:15|
|Temperature - 78|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Runge, First Base - Scott Barry, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Charlie Reliford|