Marquis will look to win six straight starts for the first time in his career Monday when the Cubs open a four-game series with the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.
Marquis (5-1, 1.70 ERA) retired the first 16 batters he faced and gave up just three hits in his second career shutout on Wednesday, a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh. Marquis, who threw his fourth career complete-game, signed a three-year, $21 million deal with Chicago (17-18) in the offseason after St. Louis left him off its roster in the final two rounds of last season’s playoffs.
“I try to stick to a game plan,” Marquis, who walked none and struck out five, told the Cubs’ official Web site. “I try to execute pitches, and until the hitters show me they can do something with it, I’m going to stay with that plan.”
Marquis also won five straight starts from May 13-June 4 last season, but finished the year with an NL-worst 16 losses. He won a career-best 11 consecutive decisions in 2004.
“My delivery is as consistent as it’s ever been. I feel like I’m repeating the same delivery over and over again, and that’s the reason, I really believe, for the success,” he said.
Marquis has allowed just five runs in 36 2-3 innings during his winning streak. He is 5-4 with a 3.96 ERA in 18 career appearances, including 11 starts, against the Mets.
On the down side for the Cubs, Alfonso Soriano went 0-for-4 with a walk Sunday, ending the longest hitting streak of his career at 20 games.
First baseman Derrek Lee left the game in the second inning with neck spasms and is day-to-day. After wrist injuries limited him to 50 games last season, Lee has played in all 35 games thus far in 2007, and his .390 batting average leads the league.
The Mets (23-13) took two of three from NL-leading Milwaukee over the weekend. Carlos Beltran and Damion Easley each homered and Oliver Perez took a shutout into the ninth inning of Sunday’s 9-1 victory.
Easley, who has been getting regular playing time with starting second baseman Jose Valentin on the disabled list, is 8-for-17 (.471) with two homers and five RBIs in his last five games.
“It’s easy to relax knowing I’m going to get another at-bat,” Easley said. “I’m going to see more pitches so in certain opportunities I can take chances.”
Tom Glavine (4-1, 2.98) will start the series opener for the Mets. He allowed one run in seven innings to earn Tuesday’s 4-1 win in San Francisco after not receiving a decision in his previous three starts. The victory left the 41-year-old left-hander six shy of 300 for his career.
“It’s nice to get back on track,” Glavine told the Mets’ official Web site, “even though I wasn’t really off track. But when you’re not winning, you start to think something’s wrong. We won two of my games, and both times, I gave us a chance. But when you don’t win, you start fighting the mental side of it.”
Glavine is 14-13 with a 3.57 ERA in 33 career starts against the Cubs, but lost both of his starts against them last season.