Cubs 11, Phillies 6

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Aramis Ramirez is making a strong case for some big money if he decides to become a free agent.

The third baseman went 4-for-5 with two homers and drove in a career-best seven runs and the Chicago Cubs held off the Philadelphia Phillies for an 11-6 victory Monday night.

The second-place Phillies were eliminated from the NL East race when the New York Mets beat Florida 4-0 earlier Monday night to clinch the division title. Philadelphia entered play one game behind the wild card-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

Pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez hit a grand slam in the fourth inning to bring Philadelphia within two runs after trailing 8-0, but five Cubs relievers held the Phillies scoreless over the last five innings.

Juan Pierre and Scott Moore hit solo homers for Chicago (62-89), which has the NL’s worst record.

Ramirez has three years remaining on his contract for $33.5 million, but he can void it after this season and test his value on the free agent market. The Phillies would certainly be interested in a right-handed power hitter who plays third base and can protect slugger Ryan Howard in the lineup.

“I just go out and play my game,” said Ramirez, who has 19 homers in 62 games since the All-Star break. “I let my agent do the other stuff. Whatever happens, happens.”

Will Ohman relieved Chicago starter Sean Marshall and got the final two outs in the fourth. Michael Wuertz (3-1) tossed two perfect innings to get the win.

Ramirez hit three-run homers in the first inning off Jon Lieber (8-10) and in the fourth off Eude Brito. His second shot gave Chicago an 8-0 lead.

But the Phillies got six runs in the fourth. One run scored on a passed ball by Henry Blanco and Chris Coste had an RBI single, before Hernandez lined a 3-2 pitch from Marshall into the left-field seats to clear the bases.

Hernandez, acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh last month, pumped his fist before rounding first base as a towel-waving crowd cheered wildly. The same fans began chanting E-A-G-L-E-S with the Phillies batting in the sixth, even though the Eagles wasted a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in a 30-24 overtime loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.

Moore connected against Brian Sanches in the fifth to make it 9-6 and the Phillies couldn’t rally again.

“We had a bad game,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We have 12 more to play. This one is gone. We have to keep going.”

Lieber, a 17-game winner in his first season with the Phillies, failed to reach the sixth inning for the seventh time in 25 starts. He gave up four earned runs and five hits in 2 1-3 innings.

Lieber didn’t speak to reporters after the game.

“I’ve seen his better stuff,” Manuel said.

Marshall gave up six runs and five hits in 3 1-3 innings. Cubs starters had thrown 25 1-3 scoreless innings before the Phillies scored in the fourth.

Ramirez drove a 3-2 pitch into the left-center field seats to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead before Lieber recorded an out. Lieber dropped, then fumbled Pierre’s leadoff bouncer for an error and Ryan Theriot reached on a bunt single, before Ramirez went deep.

Pierre led off the third with his third homer and Ramirez had an RBI single to give the Cubs a 5-0 lead.

“He’s been swinging the bat great,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said of Ramirez. “He’s really finished strong.”

Notes

The Phillies won a coin toss and would host a one-game playoff against the Dodgers or San Diego Padres if they were tied for the wild-card spot. … Ramirez has a nine-game hitting streak. He’s batting .500 (17-for-34) in that span. Ramirez became the sixth Cub to have 35 homers and 35 doubles in a season. He has 17 career multihomer games, four this year. … Cubs SS Ronny Cedeno extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

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