|Chi. Cubs (49-45) «||1||1||1||0||0||1||0||4||x||8||14||1|
Ramirez homered to snap a sixth-inning tie and had a pair of two-out, run-producing hits in his most productive game since coming off the disabled list, leading the Cubs to an 8-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.
"The good two-out hitting," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said when asked what he missed most during Ramirez's absence. "He knows how to drive in runs. He's done it his whole career. He's a good, professional bat in the middle part of your lineup. We've missed that for a long, long time here. Get him going and it really helps."
It took time to get Ramirez going. In his first 11 games after missing nearly two months due to a separated shoulder, Ramirez was batting .190 with two RBI. But he followed Wednesday's two-hit, two-RBI game at Philadelphia with Friday's four-hit performance.
"It's there, and it's going to be there," Ramirez, who winces after some swings, said of his shoulder pain. "I'm going to have to deal with it."
He has driven in 100-plus runs six times. That bat is good medicine for an ailing Cubs offense that entered Friday batting .224 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
"I'm the cleanup hitter, and I'm here to drive in runs in key situations," Ramirez said. "Any time you lose your cleanup hitter, it's going to affect everybody. We have a great team. The second half we're playing pretty good, and hopefully we keep going."
The Reds dropped their sixth straight road game despite starting pitcher Aaron Harang's first career home run. At 44-51, they are a season-worst seven games under .500 -- and they're not happy about it.
"It's a very frustrating game, frustrating road trip, frustrating since the second half started," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said.
Cubs rookie Randy Wells (6-4), who allowed seven hits in six innings, is 6-0 when receiving at least four runs of support. Aaron Heilman and Carlos Marmol each pitched a scoreless inning of relief before Kevin Gregg gave up Willy Taveras' two-run single in the ninth.
Gregg ended the game by retiring Joey Votto, Cincinnati's best hitter, on a called third strike with two men on base.
"Joey's not going to end the game like that unless he thinks that was a ball," Dusty Baker said. "There were a couple of questionable calls. Mike Reilly is a good umpire, but you just hate to end the game like that."
The rest of Cincinnati's scoring came on the second-inning, three-run shot by Harang, a career .090 hitter who has struck out 178 times in 390 at-bats. He said it was his first homer since high school.
"I've been working on that for quite a while and it finally happened," Harang said. "I'll have to call [former Reds slugger Adam] Dunn and tell him I finally got one. He's been all over me."
Harang (5-11), who gave up nine hits and four runs in six innings, is 0-7 with a 5.17 ERA in his last 11 starts. After going 32-17 in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, he is 11-28 in 2008 and 2009.
Ramirez had an RBI double in the first and made it 3-3 with his third-inning single. He later added another double.
|Aramis Ramirez does his damage but has help from Derrek Lee, who hits a homer of his own. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Chris Dickerson, RF||4||0||0||0||1||3||1||.263|
|Willy Taveras, CF||5||0||2||2||0||0||1||.249|
|Joey Votto, 1B||5||0||1||0||0||3||2||.349|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.271|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.212|
|Jonny Gomes, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.294|
|Ryan Hanigan, C||4||2||3||0||0||0||1||.323|
|Alex Gonzalez, SS||4||1||0||0||0||0||3||.210|
|Aaron Harang, P||1||1||1||3||0||0||0||.167|
|a- Adam Rosales, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.207|
|Nick Masset, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Danny Herrera, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jared Burton, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Jerry Hairston Jr., PH||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.253|
|a-grounded out for Harang in the 7th|
|b-doubled for Burton in the 9th|
|2B - Edwin Encarnacion (5, R. Wells), Jerry Hairston Jr. (18, Gregg)|
|HR - Aaron Harang (1, R. Wells)|
|SH - Aaron Harang (5)|
|RBI - Willy Taveras 2 (14), Aaron Harang 3 (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Willy Taveras 2 (3), Aaron Harang 3 (6)|
|SB - Chris Dickerson (8, 2nd base off R. Wells/Hill), Brandon Phillips (15, 2nd base off R. Wells/Hill)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Aaron Harang (L,5-11)||6||9||4||4||1||6||2||4.25|
|WP - Nick Masset (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 119-74, Nick Masset 16-10, Danny Herrera 13-6, Jared Burton 10-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 4-8, Nick Masset 1-1, Danny Herrera 1-0, Jared Burton 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 28, Nick Masset 5, Danny Herrera 4, Jared Burton 4|
|Kosuke Fukudome, CF||4||2||2||0||0||0||3||.267|
|Ryan Theriot, SS||5||1||1||1||0||1||2||.298|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||5||1||2||2||0||0||2||.283|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||5||1||4||3||0||1||1||.325|
|Milton Bradley, RF||4||0||1||0||1||2||3||.242|
|Alfonso Soriano, LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.245|
|Carlos Marmol, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kevin Gregg, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mike Fontenot, 2B||3||1||1||1||0||0||2||.236|
|a- Jeff Baker, PH||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||.191|
|Andres Blanco, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.224|
|Koyie Hill, C||3||0||1||0||1||2||0||.200|
|Randy Wells, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.154|
|b- Micah Hoffpauir, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||3||.240|
|Aaron Heilman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Reed Johnson, LF||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||.248|
|a-homered for Fontenot in the 8th|
|b-struck out for R. Wells in the 6th|
|2B - Kosuke Fukudome (21, Harang), Aramis Ramirez 2 (6, Harang, Burton)|
|HR - Derrek Lee (19, Burton), Aramis Ramirez (6, Harang), Mike Fontenot (8, Harang), Jeff Baker (1, Herrera)|
|SH - Kosuke Fukudome (3)|
|RBI - Ryan Theriot (37), Derrek Lee 2 (62), Aramis Ramirez 3 (23), Mike Fontenot (31), Jeff Baker (8)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ryan Theriot (17), Derrek Lee 2 (23), Aramis Ramirez 2 (14)|
|SB - Ryan Theriot (14, 2nd base off Burton/Hanigan)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Ramirez-Fontenot-Lee|
|E - Mike Fontenot (6, Misplayed grounder)|
|Randy Wells (W,6-4)||6||7||3||3||1||5||1||3.10|
|Aaron Heilman (H,8)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||4.17|
|Carlos Marmol (H,22)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.23|
|Pitches-Strikes - Randy Wells 88-54, Aaron Heilman 12-8, Carlos Marmol 13-8, Kevin Gregg 22-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Wells 7-6, Aaron Heilman 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Randy Wells 26, Aaron Heilman 3, Carlos Marmol 3, Kevin Gregg 7|
|Attendance - 41406|
|Game Time - 2:57|
|Temperature - 78|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Eric Cooper|