Wells pitches Cubs to victory over Arizona

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CHICAGO (AP)—Randy Wells(notes) was once a minor league catcher who’s now a 12-game winner in the major leagues, with a strong future in the Chicago Cubs’ rotation.

“Having the kind of career I’ve had, spent a lot of times in the minor leagues and changed positions and all kinds of stuff, (you’re) just wondering if you will ever get called up,” Wells said Saturday after pitching the Cubs past the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0.

“You’re just happy to be a part of it.”

Wells allowed three hits in seven innings and struck out a career-high 10.

He was called up from the minors on May 8 and his 12 wins are the most by a Cubs rookie since Kerry Wood(notes) won 13 in 1998. Wells, who turned 27 in August, is still not completely comfortable with where he is.

“It’s like a light switch around here,” he said. “It can flip any way, any time. While I’m here, while I’m going out there every five days, I have to personally treat it like it could be my last start or last outing in the big leagues.”

Manager Lou Piniella said Wells—who started pitching in 2003—will be in the Cubs’ rotation. So he can relax on that front.

“He’s done everything any young pitcher can do to establish himself a spot in the plans of an organization’s rotation,” Piniella said. “He knows how to pitch, he keeps his emotions under control out there.”

Wells (12-10) gave up a leadoff double to Stephen Drew(notes) and then retired 14 straight before Eric Byrnes(notes) hit a two-out single in the fifth. He walked one and his strikeout total was three more than his previous career high.

“I was able to throw some pretty quality sliders up there and they were just swinging and missing at them,” Wells said.

Chicago broke a scoreless tie with three runs off Daniel Cabrera(notes) in the fourth.

Aramis Ramirez(notes) walked, Jeff Baker(notes) doubled past first for the Cubs’ second hit, Reed Johnson(notes) hit a two-run triple to right center and Geovany Soto(notes) followed with an RBI double.

Cabrera (0-6), winless in his nine starts this season, gave up four hits and three runs with three walks in five innings.

“That inning right there that was the key to the game, and I tried to make some good pitches for the ground ball and stuff,” Cabrera said of the fourth.

Cabrera was released by the Nationals on June 5 and was making his first start for the Diamondbacks, who signed him to a minor league deal on Aug. 5.

“It was good because I pitched for the first time in Washington and took 2 1/2 months off and I came here and pitched a little bit in the minor leagues and came back and tried to pitch again in the big leagues and finish,” Cabrera said.

Chicago scored two more in the sixth, the first coming on an RBI infield single by Soto. With runners at first and third, Soto hit a nubber near the mound and reliever Brian Augenstein fired the ball into the ground while attempting to throw home. Tyler Colvin’s(notes) RBI single off Drew’s glove at short made it 5-0.

NOTES: Cubs 1B Derrek Lee(notes), who has a career high in RBIs with 111, returned to the team after missing the previous two games for what manager Lou Piniella called a personal issue. … D-Backs 3B Mark Reynolds(notes) struck out four more times Saturday, increasing his major league record to 220. … Cabrera hasn’t won since Aug. 9, 2008, while with the Orioles. He is 0-9 in his last 13 starts overall.

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