Soriano homers, Cubs rally past Diamondbacks 7-5

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CHICAGO (AP)—His surgically repaired knee finally healed, Alfonso Soriano(notes) no longer worries when he steps to the plate.

Now, the burden is on opposing pitchers.

Soriano homered, Derrek Lee(notes) delivered the go-ahead two-run single and the Chicago Cubs rallied from three down again to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-5 on Saturday.

Soriano’s two-run shot off former Cubs pitcher Bob Howry(notes) in the seventh tied it at 5, and Lee made it 7-5 with a two-run bases-loaded single in the eighth off Juan Gutierrez(notes) (0-3).

“I’m working hard to make the fans happy,” said Soriano, who’s often booed at home.

Not this time, though.

Not after his second big homer in the past two days. His drive and Lee’s big hit made a winner of Sean Marshall(notes) (1-1), who pitched two scoreless innings before Carlos Marmol(notes) escaped a tense ninth with his fourth save in five chances.

He caught his right ankle on a small hole throwing his first pitch to Cole Gillespie(notes) and walked him to lead off the inning. Justin Upton(notes) singled with one out and Mark Reynolds(notes)—who hit two solo homers—walked with two out to load the bases, but Marmol struck Adam LaRoche(notes).

“Marmol’s got exceptional stuff, and he’s got a big, big heart and pitches with confidence to go along with good stuff,” manager Lou Piniella said. “He makes it a little difficult on himself at times.”

To that, Marmol said, “I don’t want to make it exciting.”

There was enough excitement before he stepped on the mound.

Early on, about a dozen protesters outside Wrigley Field handed out leaflets blasting Arizona’s new immigration law that makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and lets police question anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant. The protesters were headed to a larger rally in downtown Chicago.

Inside the old ballpark, the Diamondbacks were making plenty of noise with their bats before the Cubs rallied.

Cubs starter Carlos Silva(notes) allowed eight hits over five innings in his shortest outing of the year. His ERA rose from 1.73 to 2.90.

Reynolds hit his eighth and ninth homers, tying teammate Kelly Johnson(notes) for the league lead. Upton went deep, but Arizona blew a three-run lead for the second straight day, the bullpen again breaking down and the surging Soriano coming up with another big blow.

Afterward, manager J.J. Hinch laid into his bullpen, saying, “It’s a collective group that needs to regain their competitive edge.”

Reynolds didn’t hold back, either.

“We’ve got some guys who’ve proven themselves, veterans,” he said. “I keep saying I hope they snap out of it. I hope they do for the sake of the team and for the sanity of a lot of guys in here.”

Soriano’s tying shot off Howry in the seventh came after he hit the go-ahead three-run homer in Friday’s 11-5 win. He also singled and is now 20 for 55 over his last 17 games.

Soriano’s homer came after a 3-1 pitch on the outside corner that he thought was ball four. Instead, it was strike two, but no problem.

He knocked the ball deep into the left-center bleachers for his fourth homer.

“People don’t realize how hurt he was last year,” Lee said.

Soriano batted .241 a year ago before missing the final month and having knee surgery, but he’s feeling better.

“That’s the most important thing,” he said. “I don’t think about the knee.”

Arizona would just as soon forget about this.

In the eighth, Gutierrez walked Ryan Theriot(notes) and Kosuke Fukudome(notes) as a wave swept through the stands to load the bases before Lee, who came in with a .205 average, singled past a diving Reynolds at third to make it 7-5.

Arizona starter Dan Haren(notes) allowed 10 hits—the most for him since Aug. 30, 2008—over six innings. Haren also had two hits, leading off the third with a double and scoring the game’s first run.

NOTES: Theriot had two singles to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. … RHP Esmailin Caridad(notes), on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm, could rejoin the Cubs by next weekend “if everything is right,” manager Lou Piniella said. Caridad was scheduled to pitch Saturday in Arizona and would likely make several appearances for Triple-A Iowa. When he’s activated, he’ll replace one of the Cubs’ younger relievers, Piniella said, meaning Carlos Zambrano(notes) will remain in the bullpen for now.

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