Cubs 5, Dodgers 3
Jerry Hairston, Michael Barrett and Aramis Ramirez homered for the Cubs on Monday night in a 5-3 victory that extended their winning streak to four games and put them over .500 (25-24) for the first time in a month.
Home runs accounted for a major league-high 45.6 percent of Chicago’s runs last season, when the Cubs led the NL with a franchise-record 235 homers. They no longer have Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou, who combined for 74 homers, but they again lead the league with 65.
“You really don’t know until you get into the season, but somebody always emerges,” manager Dusty Baker said. “This year, Derrek Lee has emerged. He has double figures, Aramis and Corey (Patterson) have double figures, and we’ve made up some of that ground with Jeromy Burnitz and Michael Barrett. That’s how you account for it.”
Greg Maddux (3-3) got his 308th victory, allowing two runs—one earned— and five hits in six innings. The right-hander won for the first time in four starts since beating the New York Mets 7-0 on May 10 in Chicago.
It was the third consecutive start without a walk for the four-time Cy Young winner, who is averaging fewer than two walks per nine innings in his career and set an NL record in 2001 by pitching 72 1-3 consecutive innings without allowing one.
“It’s not about walking guys, it’s about making pitches good enough to get guys out,” Maddux said. “Tonight I made some good ones and got away with some bad ones.”
All three Cubs homers came off Wilson Alvarez (1-3), who allowed five runs and nine hits over five innings in his second spot start in place of injured Odalis Perez. In his previous outing, Alvarez gave up six runs in three innings — including two homers—in a 10-2 loss at San Francisco.
“I’m hurting the team. The way I’m pitching right now, I don’t deserve to start again,” Alvarez said. “I’m throwing the ball over the plate, but the location’s poor. Everything’s like right down the middle. I don’t have the stuff to blow people away. That’s why I’m giving up those home runs. If I’m not making my pitches, I’m not going to get people out.”
Hairston drove the left-hander’s second pitch of the game into the lower seats in the left-field corner for his first home run since July 31. Hairston led off a game with a home run for the fourth time in his career, the first since June 6, 2001, with Baltimore.
“Obviously, I want to contribute a lot more than I have. I haven’t felt like I’ve really been doing my part,” said Hairston, who came to the Cubs in the trade for Sosa.
“Me and Sammy are completely different players, and I think Sammy and the Cubs both needed a new start and I just happened to be the guy who was available. I know he wanted to play with Miguel Tejada, so I hope he’s happy and that it’ll work out for both teams.”
Maddux, a 14-time Gold Glove winner, committed a throwing error on J.D. Drew’s dribbler to the left of the mound with one out in the fourth and gave up a single to Jeff Kent. Saenz followed with a two-run double off the glove of center fielder Patterson just in front of the fence in left-center.
Ramirez, who set a Cubs franchise record for third baseman last season with a career-high 36 homers, hit a solo shot in the fifth that made it 5-2. He was 3-for-4, giving him 10 hits in his last 21 at-bats following a prolonged slump.
Lee, who entered Monday leading the NL in batting average, home runs, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, was 0-for-5. Last season Lee was 3-for-23 against the Dodgers with no RBIs.
Maddux needs 43 strikeouts to become the ninth pitcher with at least 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. … Dodgers CF Milton Bradley was unavailable for anything except pinch running after spraining the flexor tendon in his right ring finger while popping up in the ninth inning Sunday at Arizona. He is to have an MRI on Tuesday. … Patterson, who had been splitting time with Hairston in the leadoff spot until last week, was bumped to eighth for the first time this season and went 2-for-4. … LHP John Koronka will be promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday and make his major league debut for the Cubs in place of injured RHP Mark Prior, on the DL with a compression fracture near his elbow.