Alfonso Soriano has no hard feelings against his former team. He’s just happy to remind them what they’re missing.
After hitting 46 homers and stealing 41 bases last year in his only season with the Nationals (9-20), Soriano filed for free agency and signed an eight-year, $136 million deal with the Cubs. Facing his old club for the first time on Friday, Soriano had an RBI double and scored twice - including the go-ahead run - as Chicago rallied from a four-run deficit to beat Washington 6-4.
“I had a good time with those guys when I played for Washington,” said Soriano, who got together with some of his ex-teammates. “We talked last night. I went to the hotel and we went to dinner. We had a good time.”
The win was Chicago’s sixth in seven games. With a victory Saturday, the Cubs will be at .500 for the first time since they were 3-3 on April 8.
Soriano and Derrek Lee have been the Cubs’ hottest players recently. Soriano has four straight multihit games as part of a 13-game hitting streak and has scored twice in three straight contests. Lee is hitting .472 (25-for-53) with 10 doubles in a 12-game hitting streak, and leads the majors with a .422 average.
“I think it is important to get off to a good start. Otherwise, you’re fighting uphill the rest of the way,” Lee said. “If you get off to a good start, it gives you some slack if you tail off.”
Austin Kearns’ three-run homer in the first inning Friday was just Washington’s 13th this season, the fewest in the majors. The Nationals also have scored 88 runs this season to put them near the bottom of the majors.
Washington may not have much better luck against Rich Hill (3-1, 1.77 ERA), who starts Saturday. The left-hander, making his first career start against the Nationals, has emerged as the surprise ace of the Cubs staff.
Though winless in his last two starts, he pitched well Monday against the Pirates against whom he lasted seven innings and allowed two runs and six hits while striking out six, but he didn’t factor in the 3-2 loss.
Washington will counter with John Patterson (1-4, 6.44), who snapped a 10-game winless streak with a victory over San Diego on Monday. The right-hander pitched six innings, allowing one run and four hits in the 3-2 victory.
“You want to get the first one out of the way and get the monkey off my back,” said Patterson, who hadn’t recorded a win since April 15, 2006 and missed most of last season after forearm surgery. “But I still have a long way to go.”
Patterson was hit in the left cheek by a ball while standing in the outfield Friday during batting practice. A precautionary CT scan was negative.