Phillies rough up Cubs 10-1 for 9th straight win

Jul 21, 2009 - 7:53 AM By DAN GELSTON AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA(AP) -- Down in Florida, Pedro Martinez is tuning up for a return to the major leagues.

Rodrigo Lopez is pitching his best to try and keep a spot in the rotation that's all but slotted for the three-time Cy Young Award winner.

Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer, Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard each went deep to back Lopez, and the sizzling Phillies won their ninth straight game, 10-1 over the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.

"It's going to be a couple of weeks until Pedro gets ready," Lopez said. "I think it's a good asset. But I can't control that. I'm happy to be around here and I'm trying to do my job. I can't do anything about it."

The Phillies scored five runs in the first two innings to hand an early lead to Lopez (2-0), who allowed one run over six innings after leaving his last start with right shoulder inflammation.

His solid effort helped his cause to stay in the rotation once Martinez is deemed healthy enough to join the Phillies. Martinez signed a free-agent deal last week and was medically cleared to pitch a simulated game on Tuesday. He should take Lopez's spot in August.

With Martinez signed to a $1 million deal loaded with incentives, manager Charlie Manuel realizes something's got to give.

"I like decisions," Manuel said. "When people are doing good, I like that."

With Jack Nicholson watching from a front-row seat, Philadelphia's A-list lineup was about as good as it gets. The Phillies rocked Ted Lilly (9-7) in his shortest outing of the season for the Cubs, and they won for the 13th time in their last 14 games.

Chad Durbin tossed three scoreless innings to finish off the win and earn his first save for the hottest team in baseball.

"You go out with a good feeling, and right now, things have kind of been going well for us," Howard said. "You just try to continue the feeling that you have."

The Phillies are on their longest winning streak since 2006 and improved to 23-23 at home. They were 13-22 at home before they went 9-1 on their last homestand. Up ahead, a shot at their first 10-game winning streak since 1991 that has the Phillies feeling unbeatable.

"When we play good, that's kind of the attitude that we have," Manuel said.

Dodgers 7, Reds 3=

At Los Angeles, Manny Ramirez hit his 537th home run to pass Mickey Mantle for 15th place on the all-time list and Jason Schmidt won his first major league start in more than two years.

Making just his seventh start for the Dodgers since signing a three-year, $47 million contract in December 2006, Schmidt (1-0) threw 91 pitches over five innings and allowed three runs and five hits.

Braves 11 Giants 3=

At Atlanta, Tommy Hanson (5-0) struck out 11 to remain unbeaten, Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer and the Braves got past Jonathan Sanchez in his first start since a no-hitter.

Matt Diaz had a tiebreaking two-run triple in Atlanta's six-run seventh, helping the Braves snap a five-game skid against San Francisco.

Sergio Romo (2-1) replaced Sanchez and failed to record an out, allowing four runs and four hits.

Mets 6, Nationals 2=

At Washington, Livan Hernandez (6-5) threw seven solid innings and Jeff Francoeur hit his first homer with New York and finished with three hits and two RBIs.

Washington has lost six straight to lower its major league-worst record to 26-66 and is 0-5 since Jim Riggleman became interim manager a week ago.

Rockies 10, Diamondbacks 6=

At Denver, Jorge De La Rosa pitched seven strong innings in his fifth straight win and drove in two runs, while Dexter Fowler and Chris Iannetta homered for Colorado.

With the win and San Francisco's loss to Atlanta, the Rockies moved into the NL wild card lead, one-half game ahead of the Giants.

De La Rosa, who started the season 0-6, is 7-1 since May 31. He gave up one run and four hits.

Astros 3, Cardinals 2=

At Houston, Carlos Lee hit a three-run homer off Kyle Lohse (4-6) in the fourth inning to lift the Astros.

Brian Moehler (7-5) allowed six hits and two runs with five strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings to improve his career record against the Cardinals to 5-0.

Pirates 8, Brewers 5=

At Pittsburgh, Delwyn Young and Garrett Jones homered and the Pirates ended a 17-game skid against Milwaukee.

Andrew McCutchen had three hits and scored two runs for Pittsburgh, which snapped the major's longest losing streak against one opponent in 39 years.

Russ Ohlendorf (8-7) allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings to get the win.

Marlins 3, Padres 2=

At San Diego, Rick VandenHurk pitched six strong innings to earn his first win in more than a year.

VandenHurk (1-0), making his first start since last July, allowed two runs and five hits, struck out four and walked two. He picked up his first victory since a 4-0 victory over Atlanta on June 22, 2008.

Hanley Ramirez homered for the Marlins, who snapped a three-game slide.

San Diego has lost 15 of 19 and has the majors' worst record since June 1 (12-31).






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