Astros
Cubs
0 - 12 Final
  for this game

Wells' arm, Soriano's bat lead Cubs over Astros

Jul 29, 2009 - 10:50 PM CHICAGO(AP) -- No longer burdened by batting leadoff, Alfonso Soriano is doing what he was supposed to have been doing all along. Rookie right-hander Randy Wells, meanwhile, has exceeded the Chicago Cubs' wildest expectations.

"I wonder where we'd be without him," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Wednesday after Wells pitched eight shutout innings in a 12-0 victory over the Houston Astros.

They probably wouldn't be seven games over .500 - their high-water mark of the season - and in a close race with St. Louis for the NL Central lead.

Despite the lopsided win, the Cubs did have one setback. Outfielder Reed Johnson sustained a broken left foot after fouling a ball off himself in the first inning, and could miss a month or more.

Wells (7-4) is the first Cubs rookie with seven victories since Kerry Wood won 13 in 1998 and his 2.84 ERA leads all first-year pitchers. But the 26-year-old, who didn't even make the team out of spring training, refuses to discuss his Rookie of the Year possibilities.

"I'm just trying to stay even-keel and continue this little ride I'm on," said Wells, who was promoted from the minors May 8. "I'm scared of getting comfortable, scared of getting overconfident and having the wheels fall off."

The Cubs, who are 10-3 since the All-Star break, made things quite comfortable for him Wednesday, scoring six first-inning runs off Mike Hampton. Soriano's three-run homer was the big blow.

Soriano, the $136 million ballplayer who had struggled in the leadoff spot, is hitting .383 with five homers and 15 RBIs while batting sixth the last dozen games. His 13th-inning grand slam won Monday's series opener.

Reluctant to leave the top of the order at first, Soriano has come to realize that his powerful bat can help the team more from the 6-hole.

"If you're hot and hit a leadoff homer, it's only one run," he said. "But being hot like now ... first at-bat, first pitch, I hit a three-run homer.

"I'm very comfortable. I don't have pressure to get on base. Just see the ball and hit it. I like to score a lot of runs, but now I can get a lot of RBIs."

Wells allowed six singles, walked two, struck out one and let only one runner get as far as second base. Using his sinker, he got Houston to ground into three double plays. He has won seven of his last eight starts.

He easily outpitched Hampton (6-8), who gave up nine runs in four innings. His Astros have lost four of five since using a 32-18 stretch to get back into contention.

"I just basically got my butt kicked and there's no other way to look at it," Hampton said. "It seems everything I threw they were putting the bat on ... and hitting them all over the park."

The Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate in the first. Johnson opened with a single, went to third on Ryan Theriot's double and scored on Derrek Lee's sacrifice fly. After an RBI single by Aramis Ramirez, Milton Bradley walked and Soriano followed with his 19th homer. Hampton then walked Jeff Baker, threw a wild pitch and gave up Koyie Hill's RBI single.

In the first innings of his 18 starts this season, Hampton has allowed 24 runs - an ERA of 12.00, compared to 4.04 from the second inning on.

"Most of his starts he's been able to get right after he's given up one or two (runs in the first inning)," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "Today was a tough day for him."

Ramirez homered in the second inning, giving him at least one extra-base hit in seven straight games; he's batting .517 during that stretch. The Cubs scored two more off Hampton in the fourth when Lee hit an RBI double and scored on Bradley's single.

Andres Blanco led off the eighth with his first career homer. Jake Fox added two RBIs.

Mitch Atkins, making his major league debut after getting called up from Triple-A Iowa, completed the Cubs' third shutout of the season by working a hitless ninth.

NOTES: Johnson left after the third inning with a bruised left foot. ... Astros RHP Bud Norris, just called up from Triple-A Round Rock, made his major league debut. After taking over for Hampton, he allowed one run on three hits in three innings. ... It was Chicago's most decisive win this year but wasn't Houston's most lopsided loss. The Astros fell 13-0 to San Francisco on July 3.






  • 5
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Astros 0, Cubs 12  FinalJul 30 7:20 AM


  • ** CONFIRMED **
    NL
    HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 12 FINAL

    Jul 29 5:03 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JAKE FOX SCORED MICAH HOFFPAUIR
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J FOX ON FIRST, M FONTENOT ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 12 BOTTOM,8TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: J BAKER (.200, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Astros 0, Cubs 12  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 29 4:46 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ANDRES BLANCO (1) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF DOUG BROCAIL.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0, CHICAGO CUBS 11
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: M HOFFPAUIR (.236, 8 HR, 25 RBI)

    Astros 0, Cubs 11  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 29 4:38 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JAKE FOX SCORED MILTON BRADLEY
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 10 BOTTOM,7TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: J BAKER (.185, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Astros 0, Cubs 10  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 29 4:20 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MILTON BRADLEY SCORED DERREK LEE
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M BRADLEY ON FIRST, A RAMIREZ ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 9 BOTTOM,4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A SORIANO (.252, 1-FOR-2, HR, 3 RBI)

    Astros 0, Cubs 9  Bot 4, 0 OutsJul 29 3:33 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DERREK LEE SCORED RYAN THERIOT
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D LEE ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 8 BOTTOM,4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A RAMIREZ (.346, 2-FOR-2, HR, 2 RBI)

    Astros 0, Cubs 8  Bot 4, 0 OutsJul 29 3:30 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ARAMIS RAMIREZ (9) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF MIKE HAMPTON.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0, CHICAGO CUBS 7
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: M BRADLEY (.246, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Astros 0, Cubs 7  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 29 2:59 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KOYIE HILL SCORED JEFF BAKER
    SITUATION: 6 RUNS IN, K HILL ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 6 BOTTOM,1ST
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R WELLS (.154, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

    Astros 0, Cubs 6  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 29 2:42 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY ALFONSO SORIANO (19) TO LEFT CENTER
    WITH 1 OUT IN THE 1ST OFF MIKE HAMPTON SCORED MILTON BRADLEY
    AND ARAMIS RAMIREZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0, CHICAGO CUBS 5
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: J BAKER (.192, 1 HR, 8 RBI)

    Astros 0, Cubs 5  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 29 2:37 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ARAMIS RAMIREZ SCORED RYAN THERIOT
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A RAMIREZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 2 BOTTOM,1ST
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: M BRADLEY (.246, 7 HR, 24 RBI)

    Astros 0, Cubs 2  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 29 2:34 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY DERREK LEE SCORED REED JOHNSON
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R THERIOT ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 BOTTOM,1ST
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A RAMIREZ (.336, 8 HR, 28 RBI)

    Astros 0, Cubs 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 29 2:33 PM