Originally created 04/15/04

Cubs roll over Pirates



CHICAGO -- Aramis Ramirez homered twice, Todd Walker went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Matt Clement scattered two hits Wednesday in the Chicago Cubs' 8-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Moises Alou also homered, and Michael Barrett and Sammy Sosa drove in runs for the Cubs, who got their first win at Wrigley Field this year. Raul Mondesi spoiled Chicago's shutout bid with a three-run homer in the seventh.

The Pirates' pitching staff hadn't allowed an earned run in its previous 13 innings, and had allowed more than three earned runs only once in its first seven games. But the Cubs roughed up Ryan Vogelsong (1-1) early.

Walker, starting because Mark Grudzielanek is on the disabled list with a partially torn Achilles' tendon, led off the first with a double to the wall. Two batters later, Sosa drove him home with a double.

Ramirez led off the second with a single, and Barrett drove him in with another single. Vogelsong struck out Alex Gonzalez and Clement, but Walker singled to give Chicago a 3-0 lead.

The Cubs chased Vogelsong in the third, batting around and scoring four runs. After Sosa struck out, Alou sent the first pitch he saw soaring over the left-field fence and bouncing down Waveland Avenue. Fans had barely settled back into their seats when Ramirez put another ball on Waveland.

Derrek Lee drew a walk, and Gonzalez grounded out. Vogelsong then intentionally walked Barrett to get to Clement, but the move backfired when Clement singled to short to load the bases.

Walker followed with a two-run single, giving Chicago a 7-0 lead. Ramirez made it 8-0 with his second homer, a shot to left on a 2-2 pitch in the fourth. It's the eighth multihomer game of Ramirez's career.

That lead was all Clement needed. Clement (1-1) has struggled with his location, and hadn't lasted longer than five innings in his first start or his six Cactus League outings. He still doesn't have everything figured out, issuing three walks and hitting one batter in six innings. But he appears to be getting closer to the pitcher who won 14 games last year.

After giving up singles to Tike Redman and Jason Kendall in the first inning, Clement didn't allow another hit. He did walk Kendall and Rob Mackowiak to load the bases with two outs in the third. But he struck out Chris Wilson to end the threat, and retired eight of his last nine before leaving the game.

The Pirates finally ended the shutout bid in the seventh, when Kyle Farnsworth gave up a three-run homer to Mondesi.

Notes: This was the second time already this season the Cubs had back-to-back home runs. Alex Gonzalez and Alou had consecutive home runs in the ninth inning at Atlanta on Sunday. ... Actors Matt Damon and Andy Garcia were at the game, watching from the new seats next to the Cubs' dugout. ... The Cubs optioned LHP Andy Pratt to Triple-A Iowa before the game and recalled RHP Francis Beltran. Pratt, acquired from the Braves on March 25, had a 21.60 ERA in four games for the Cubs.