Cubs 6, Diamondbacks 2

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CHICAGO (AP)—The way things are going for the Cubs these days, it seems manager Lou Piniella can make out any lineup he wants and it clicks.

With Derrek Lee, Cliff Floyd and Daryle Ward all sidelined, Piniella went a with quicker team and it delivered against Cy Young winner Brandon Webb.

After the Cubs scratched out a one-run lead with two-out rallies featuring Mike Fontenot and Jacque Jones, they got a three-run, eighth-inning homer from Aramis Ramirez in a 6-2 victory over on Arizona Friday for Chicago’s 19th win in 24 games.

“It’s a different type lineup we played, more contact and a little more speed,” Piniella said. “These kids are going up there and taking some good at-bats and hitting the ball hard and finding some holes. Let’s ride this as long as we can.”

Jason Marquis (7-5) allowed four hits over 7 2-3 innings, including Chris Young’s 15th homer, to run Chicago’s record to 7-1 since the All-Star break.

Webb (8-8) gave up five hits and three runs—two earned— in seven innings and is 0-3 in four starts since June 27. He also lost to the Cubs for the first time in his career after going 4-0 against them in six previous starts.

With Webb out of the game, Ramirez hit his 16th homer in the eighth off reliever Brandon Lyon.

“We haven’t hit too many homers, so we got to manufacture some runs,” said Ramirez, who finished with four RBIs. “These guys got on base and Fontenot stole some bases. That’s the way to win games. You can’t rely on the home run all the time.”

The Diamondbacks have lost 10 of their past 13 and got a two-run homer from Chris Young. But they couldn’t put together a big inning against Marquis, who hadn’t make it out of the fifth inning in his previous two starts, giving up six runs each time.

“I think we’re all pretty well frustrated and know how important it is to move the runners and do the little things to try to get some runs across because we’re not scoring,” Webb said. “The guys are trying. It’s just not happening.”

The Cubs got all three of their runs off Webb with two outs. Each rally was sparked by a steal from Fontenot and an RBI single by Jones, who had four hits on Thursday against the Giants.

“It’s just the way things are going,” Webb said. “They were decent pitches.”

Fontenot, moved to third in the order, walked with one out in the fourth, stole second and scored on Jones’ two-out single, Chicago’s first hit off Webb. After Young put the Diamondbacks ahead in the fifth with a two-run shot into a 10 mph wind blowing in from left, the Cubs retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth.

Fontenot singled with two outs, stole second again and scored on a two-out RBI single by Ramirez, who raced to second when right fielder Jeff DaVanon bobbled the ball for an error. Jones, who’d been the subject of trade rumors last month but settled in as the Cubs starting center fielder after Felix Pie was sent back to the minors, then delivered again with another run-scoring single for a 3-2 lead.

“Like we told him, you can’t do anything about that, you put that aside and you play,” Piniella said. “He’s coming on now when we need him.”

The Cubs are seven games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2004 season 89-73.

“We’re keeping the games close as pitchers and then the hitters are coming up clutch late in the game for us,” Marquis said. “Early on we were prone to mistakes, more mental than physical mistakes, but we’ve corrected that real well.”


Lee (suspension), Floyd (sore neck and side) and Ward (DL, calf injury) were unavailable for various reasons. The lineup also featured Scott Moore, just called up from the minors, playing first base. … Former Cubs first baseman and Diamondbacks TV analyst Mark Grace threw out the first pitch. He got a loud ovation. … Arizona’s Chad Tracy was back in the lineup Friday after missing two games with tendinitis in his right knee. The left-handed hitting Tracy might sit out one or both of the next two games against the Cubs with left-handers Rich Hill and Sean Marshall scheduled to be on the mound. … Fontenot’s two steals gave him four for his career. … Eleven of Young’s 15 homers have come on the road.

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