Cubs 11, Phillies 2

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CHICAGO (AP)—Aramis Ramirez wonders what might have been if he had gotten off to a better start, if Derrek Lee had stayed healthy and if Mark Prior and Kerry Wood hadn’t broken down.

“It would be different,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez homered and tripled, and the Chicago Cubs hit four homers an 11-2 victory over the Philadelphia that stopped the Phillies’ five-game winning streak.

Michael Barrett hit a two-run homer, Angel Pagan added a three-run drive, and Ramirez and Phil Nevin hit back-to-back solo shots as the Cubs broke a four-game losing streak and avoided a four-game sweep.

Barrett went deep in the first, after Ramirez tripled in two runs, to extend the lead to 4-1. Chicago scored five more in the third, with Pagan’s homer making it 9-1 and chasing starter Cole Hamels (6-7). Ramirez and Nevin homered off Brian Sanches in the fourth.

Carlos Zambrano (14-5) became the NL’s first 14-game winner, allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

“When you have that type of command, you feel like Greg Maddux,” a grinning Zambrano said, referring to the four-time NL Cy Young Award winner who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31.

When Nevin looks at Zambrano, he sees a young Randy Johnson—with better control.

“If I were to pick one guy right now to start my rotation, that would be my guy,” Nevin said. “He reminds you a lot of Randy when he was young. He didn’t control the strike zone very well, although Carlos does better than Randy did at this age. Once he learns to command the strike zone and cut down on walks, there are a lot of things he’s going to do in this game—no hitters, perfect games, Cy Youngs.”

Nevin also had good things to say about Hamels, who had won four of his previous five starts. This time, he gave up a season-high nine runs—five earned—and nine hits, which matched his season high, in two-plus innings.

“He’s one of the better young left-handed arms I’ve seen in a long time,” Nevin said.

Hamels hung pitches, and the Cubs capitalized.

Ramirez and Nevin each had three hits and scored twice, while Pagan and Ryan Theriot had two hits apiece.

A Phillies team that began the day third in the wild-card race, 1 1/2 games behind Cincinnati and a half-game behind San Diego, went ahead on Ryan Howard’s RBI single in the first.

Then, the Cubs jumped on Hamels.

Ramirez tripled in Juan Pierre, who had reached on an error by shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and Theriot in the bottom half for a 2-1 lead. After Ramirez was thrown out trying to score on Matt Murton’s one-out grounder, Barrett drove his 16th homer down the left-field line.

Murton’s two-run single in the third boosted the lead to 6-1 and, after right fielder David Dellucci dropped Barrett’s fly for an error, Pagan hit his fifth homer.

“They basically hit every single pitch I threw out there,” Hamels said. “I wasn’t getting first-pitch strikes, and then when I would, I was throwing it up in the zone.”

Ramirez hit his team-leading 31st homer in the fourth—his 15th since the All-Star break. Nevin followed with his 20th to make it 11-1, the fifth time this season Chicago hit back-to-back homers.

Meanwhile, Zambrano stifled the Phillies.

“You never know what he’s going to throw, and he throws strikes for the most part,” said the Phillies’ Chase Utley, who doubled and scored a run.

Notes

The Cubs had just 58 homers at Wrigley Field entering this game while opponents had 101. … Phillies CF Aaron Rowand was to have his broken left ankle re-examined Friday by foot specialist Dr. Steven Raikin in Voorhees, N.J. Rowand was injured in a collision with Utley on Monday. … Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he’s still not sure who will start Sunday at St. Louis. One possibility is LHP Sean Marshall, on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique. “We’re trying to decide if Marshall’s ready to play,” Baker said. … A three-man crew worked the game after Paul Emmel was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with dizziness and nausea, umpire Mike Winters said.

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