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Cubs rally for key win over Brewers
09:39, July 30, 2008

NEW YORK: The Chicago Cubs rallied for two runs in the ninth inning to edge the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 in a showdown between the National League's two top teams on Monday.

Derrek Lee's one-out double in the top of the ninth scored Alfonso Soriano with the go-ahead run and Mark DeRosa's infield single added an insurance run to give the Cubs victory in the opener of a key four-game series.

Chicago now leads the Brewers by two games in the NL Central with the teams playing three more times this week at Miller Park, Milwaukee, in a series that could be crucial for their postseason hopes.

"We won the first game of an important series," Cubs manager Lou Piniella told reporters. "And tomorrow we've got a nice pitching matchup between (Ben) Sheets and (Carlos) Zambrano, two all-star pitchers.

"These are big games, both teams know that."

The Chicago Cubs' Alfonso Soriano hits a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the third inning of a baseball game on Monday in Milwaukee. China Daily/Agencies

The Cubs had 11 hits, nine of them coming off CC Sabathia, who had pitched three straight complete games.

The Brewers' prize acquisition from Cleveland and reigning Cy Young Award winner lasted until the seventh, when the Cubs scored twice to regain the lead at 4-3 after a three-run Milwaukee sixth inning put the Brewers in front.

"They were patient and I wasn't as pinpoint as I had been in my earlier starts," Sabathia said.

Soriano had two hits, including a solo homer, and scored three runs while Lee had three hits and drove in three runs for the Cubs. Chad Gaudin (2-1), the third of four Chicago pitchers, pitched a scoreless inning for the win.

"I swung the bat very good today, yesterday too," Soriano said. "Hopefully, it will continue tomorrow.

"These are the top two teams in the division so both of us want to win these games."

J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun and Russell Branyan all hit solo homers for the Brewers. Salomon Torres (5-3) allowed the two runs in the ninth to take the loss.

In Miami, Dan Uggla and Cody Ross hit RBI singles to spark a five-run eighth inning, and Florida rallied for the 7-3 win over the New York Mets.

With their 31st come-from-behind win, most in the National League, the Marlins closed within a game of NL East-leading New York. Second-place Philadelphia is a half-game out of first.

Adding to the Mets' gloom, starter John Maine left the game after 4 1-3 innings because of a stiff shoulder, and he'll return to New York for tests.

Baseball's best record

In Boston, Casey Kotchman and Torii Hunter homered in a six-run sixth inning and the Los Angeles Angels improved baseball's best record with a 7-5 win over Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Boston Red Sox in the American League on Monday.

Kotchman's two-run homer gave the Angels a 3-2 lead. Hunter's three-run shot drove Matsuzaka (11-2) from the game and equaled the total number of runs he had allowed in his previous five starts. Matsuzaka hadn't given up a homer in any of those games.

Manny Ramirez singled home the Red Sox first two runs and homered off Francisco Rodriguez for the last run in the ninth. It was his 20th homer, making him the eighth player in baseball history to hit that many in 14 consecutive seasons.

In New York, Adam Jones hit a grand slam and an RBI triple to back Jeremy Guthrie's strong start, leading Baltimore to a 13-4 blowout that ended New York's 10-game home winning streak.

Kevin Millar hit a three-run drive in the second and Ramon Hernandez followed another homer off an ineffective Mike Mussina (13-7), who failed to last at least six innings for the first time since May 24.

Guthrie (7-8) shut out New York on two hits through six innings.

Aubrey Huff hit his 21st homer and had three RBIs as Baltimore set a season high for runs and matched its top hit total with 17.

Xavier Nady homered for his first hit with the Yankees, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped with a 9-2 loss Sunday night in Boston. Johnny Damon added a three-run shot to make it 11-4 in the seventh.

Source:China Daily/Agencies

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