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Hill leads Cubs to season-high fourth straight win

May 5, 2007 - 9:28 PM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Rich Hill had little problem on the hill.

Hill worked six strong innings and Aramis Ramirez homered as the Chicago Cubs extended their winning streak to a season-high four games with a 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.

After finishing last season by winning six of his final eight decisions, Hill has been the Cubs' most consistent starter in 2007.

Hill (4-1), who was winless in his last two outings with a loss and a no-decision after starting 3-0, limited the Nationals to one run and six hits. The lefthander walked one and struck out four, departing after throwing 94 pitches.

"I think my command was a little bit off today," Hill said. "I did get some big double plays. Getting out of the third inning with the bases loaded was huge."

In six starts this season, Hill has allowed two run or fewer five times, pitching to an impressive 1.73 ERA.

Three relievers bridged the gap to closer Ryan Dempster, who struck out one in a perfect ninth for his seventh save.

"Dempster's done a really nice job here," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "He has pitched really well for us."

Ramirez started a four-run uprising in the third inning with his sixth homer of the season, a shot over the center field wall against Nationals starter John Patterson (1-5).

Patterson then gave up singles to Jacque Jones and Michael Barrett before departing with right biceps tendinitis.

"The way he came out of the game he might have to miss his next start," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "We will know more after he gets an MRI."

The injury added to an already rough week for Patterson, who was hit in the cheek during batting practice Friday. Last season, the righthander was limited to eight starts after undergoing surgery for nerve damage in his pitching elbow.

"I really don't know what to expect," Patterson said. "The injury is in my bicep, it gets sore and tightens up sometimes. I have been trying to pitch through it. Some days it's OK and some days it's not."

Rookie Levale Speigner failed to find the strike zone after replacing Patterson in the third. The righthander issued consecutive bases-loaded walks to Mark DeRosa and Hill and, after striking out Alfonso Soriano, he walked Ryan Theriot to force in another run as the Cubs grabbed a 5-0 lead.

"I was trying to challlenge the first hitter (Derosa)," Speigner said. "After that I just started trying to force things. It wasn't the umpire, it was all me."

Patterson wound up being charged with five runs and seven hits in two-plus innings.

Hill had no such problems as he cruised through the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth.

"He wasn't that sharpe out there today," Piniella said of Hill. "Rich battled through it and that's what you have to do when your stuff isn't that good."

Ryan Church opened the sixth with a double and Austin Kearns singled. But Hill limited the damage by getting Dmitri Young to bounce into a double play, scoring Church.

Looking to get back to the .500 mark for the first time since they split their first six games, the Cubs (14-14) broke on top in the first inning on a run-scoring single by Jones.

"We still have some work to do," Piniella said. "We were in a little hole for a while under .500, but we fought our way back to the .500 level."

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee had singled earlier in the first to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.

Jones and Ramirez each had two hits for Chicago, which won for the seventh time in eight games and improved to 6-9 at Wrigley Field.

Kearns and rookie Jesus Flores delivered RBI doubles in the eighth, pulling the Nationals within 5-3.

Continuing to play like baseball's worst team, the Nationals (9-21) have dropped four straight on a nine-game road trip. They opened the trek by beating ace righthander Jake Peavy of San Diego on Monday.

"We walked too many guys today," Acta said. "Especially at the bottom of their lineup. Offensively we didn't get runners on base until we had two outs, that hurt us."

Ryan Zimmerman had three hits for the Nationals, who fell to 5-11 on the road.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 3 10 2
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 x 5 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: WAS - JOHN PATTERSON, LEVALE SPEIGNER (3RD), SAUL RIVERA (4TH),
    JESUS COLOME (6TH), JESUS COLOME (6TH), JON RAUCH (7TH), CHAD
    CORDERO (8TH) AND JESUS FLORES
    CHN -

    May 5 4:05 PM


  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 3 10 2
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 x 5 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: WAS - JOHN PATTERSON, LEVALE SPEIGNER (3RD), SAUL RIVERA (4TH),
    JESUS COLOME (6TH), JESUS COLOME (6TH), JON RAUCH (7TH), CHAD
    CORDERO (8TH) AND JESUS FLORES
    CHN -

    Nationals vs. CubsMay 5 4:05 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    DMITRI YOUNG HIT INTO DOUBLE PLAY SCORING RYAN CHURCH.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 5 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: J FLORES (.273, 2-FOR-2)

    Nationals vs. CubsMay 5 2:57 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO RYAN THERIOT SCORED MATT MURTON.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, R THERIOT ON FIRST, R HILL ON SECOND, M
    DEROSA ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 5 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: D LEE (.423, 1-FOR-2)

    Nationals vs. CubsMay 5 2:22 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO RICH HILL SCORED MICHAEL BARRETT.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, R HILL ON FIRST, M DEROSA ON SECOND, M
    MURTON ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 4 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A SORIANO (.308, 0-FOR-2)

    Nationals vs. CubsMay 5 2:18 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO MARK DEROSA SCORED JACQUE JONES.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M DEROSA ON FIRST, M MURTON ON SECOND, M
    BARRETT ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R HILL (.077, 0-FOR-0, SAC)

    Nationals vs. CubsMay 5 2:15 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ARAMIS RAMIREZ (6) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF JOHN PATTERSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0, CHICAGO CUBS 2
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: J JONES (.295, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    Nationals vs. CubsMay 5 2:04 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACQUE JONES SCORED DERREK LEE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J JONES ON FIRST, A RAMIREZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: M BARRETT (.236, 4 HR, 17 RBI)

    Nationals vs. CubsMay 5 1:24 PM