Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Aramis Ramirez wiped the slate clean from a dreadful first half, driving in four to set the tone of Chicago’s 12-6 victory over Philadelphia in the first of four games at Wrigley Field.
The second half started for the disappointing Cubs, left to jockey with Milwaukee for third in the National League Central despite a high payroll, with a trio of home runs and a solid start from Ryan Dempster.
Dempster (8-7) gave up two runs on six hits with three strikeouts and three walks over 6 2/3 frames for the Cubs, winners in two of their last three games. Tyler Colvin was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, Derrek Lee — also slumping this season — went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run and Alfonso Soriano finished 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored in the victory.
Jamie Moyer (9-9) was hit hard for six runs on five hits over only three innings. Ryan Howard hit a pair of two-run home runs for the Phillies, who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.
Chicago squared the game in the home first and never looked back, as two players, Colvin and All-Star Marlon Byrd, were hit by pitches in front of Ramirez’s two-run double down the left-field lined.
One inning later, Starlin Castro busted out of the box on a sharp liner over Shane Victorino’s head in center, leading to a triple. A suicide squeeze failed with Dempster at the plate, but the ball bounced away from Carlos Ruiz, and Castro was credited with stealing home.
The Cubs played long ball in the third, striking for three runs on a pair of homers. After a Colvin single, Lee turned on a pitch over the bleachers in left-center field for a 5-2 game. Then after a groundout by Byrd and pop-up by Ramirez, Soriano swatted a middle-in offering over the ivy-covered wall in left for a four-run edge.
Philadelphia did little offensively until the sixth, putting runners on first and second with two outs before Ruiz grounded into a force out to end the threat.
The Phillies put runners on the identical bases in the seventh and chased Dempster, but failed to score as Raul Ibanez struck out looking.
The Cubs broke the game wide open with a five-spot in the seventh. It all came with two outs, as Lee singled and Byrd was hit by a pitch before Ramirez smoked a two-run double down the left-field line. Soriano’s looping single to left-center scored Ramirez and Geovany Soto followed with a towering two-run shot to left-center field.
Soriano added an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth for a 12-2 game.
Victorino and Ibanez added RBI singles in the ninth and Howard followed with a two-run moon shot tight to the line in right for the Phillies.
The Phillies put a two-spot on the scoreboard in the first frame with Ibanez’s two-out single to center and Howard’s long two-run shot on to Sheffield Avenue past the seats in right-center field.
Philadelphia pitchers hit a season-high three batters, and they all eventually scored…Castro was the first Cub to steal home since Brian McRae on April 13, 1996. The shortstop finished 3-for-4…Moyer was drafted by the Cubs back in 1984…Despite his season-long slumber, Ramirez is 14-for-33 over his last eight games with 13 RBI…Howard registered his 25th career multi-homer game and his second this season…The Cubs totaled eight extra-base hits.