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NL ROUNDUP

Ramirez, Rested Cubs Are Back to Winning

September 07, 2004|From Associated Press

Four days off suited Aramis Ramirez just fine.

Ramirez hit a pair of two-run homers, and Carlos Zambrano gave up four hits in eight innings to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 9-1 victory over the Montreal Expos on Monday.

Mark Grudzielanek, Derrek Lee and Michael Barrett also homered for the Cubs, who played their first game since Wednesday's 2-1 extra-inning victory at Montreal. The Cubs' last three games against the Florida Marlins at Miami were postponed because of Hurricane Frances.

Ramirez took advantage of the long weekend to rest his sore left groin, which has been bothering him since July.

"I feel a lot better. I'm not 100%, but the four days off really helped," Ramirez said.

Chicago won without Sammy Sosa in the lineup. The seven-time All-Star has bursitis in his right hip and is listed as day to day. The injury is not related to a lower back injury Sosa suffered earlier in the season, which put him on the disabled list May 19 through June 18.

Zambrano (13-8) gave up one run to match his career high in wins.

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Houston 11, Cincinnati 5 -- Astro pitcher Brandon Backe hit his first career homer, a two-run shot, and gave up one run in seven innings at Houston to keep his team in the thick of the NL wild-card chase.

Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman and Jeff Kent also homered, helping the Astros extend their season-high winning streak to 10 games. Houston is on its longest winning streak in five years and has won 18 of 21 since Aug. 15, the best record in the majors during that stretch.

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San Diego 7, St. Louis 3 -- Ryan Klesko singled in the go-ahead run with none out in the eighth inning, and the Padres won at San Diego to give some life to their playoff hopes and end the Cardinals' nine-game winning streak.

The Padres won for only the second time in seven games, a stretch that included three losses at St. Louis last week.

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Atlanta 3, Philadelphia 1 -- Replacement starter Travis Smith pitched five solid innings, and Andruw Jones homered to lead the Braves at Atlanta. Smith (1-3) got the start when Mike Hampton couldn't go because of a stiff neck.

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Milwaukee 9, Pittsburgh 5 -- Brady Clark drove in four runs, and the Brewers used a six-run third inning to win at Pittsburgh.

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