Originally created 06/04/06

MLB notebook



ST. LOUIS - Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam and Phil Nevin added a two-run homer in his first start with the Chicago Cubs, who beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-5, on Saturday.

The Cubs took advantage of three errors to score five runs in the fourth inning against Mark Mulder, including third baseman Scott Rolen's second fielding error in two games. Chicago has taken the first two games of the three-game series, the Cardinals' first home series loss after a 9-0 start at new Busch Stadium, and is 6-2 against St. Louis overall this year.

The Cardinals' Albert Pujols, who leads the major leagues with 25 homers and 65 RBI, left after two innings with a strained right oblique muscle. The Cardinals said Pujols, who pulled up and grabbed his right side while chasing a Ramirez foul pop in the second, would be re-examined today.

Mulder (5-4) lost his third consecutive start and allowed eight runs and 12 hits, five of the runs earned, in 6w innings. Since throwing 8q scoreless innings against the Mets on May 17, he has surrendered 19 runs, 16 earned, in 17q innings.

DODGERS 8, PHILLIES 2

In Los Angeles, Brad Penny allowed one hit in six scoreless innings in his first start since his blowup with manager Grady Little, and rookie Matt Kemp homered for the third consecutive game as Los Angeles beat Philadelphia.

Nomar Garciaparra went 3-for-5 with an RBI double, helping the Dodgers win for the 12th time in 16 games and remain a half-game behind Arizona in the NL West. J.D. Drew highlighted a four-run first inning with a two-run double and Jose Cruz Jr. also doubled home a run.

Penny (6-1) won his fourth consecutive decision, throwing 112 pitches in hot and muggy conditions and leaving with a 6-0 lead. The right-hander struck out seven and walked four while allowing only one runner past second base.

REDS 7, ASTROS 5

In Houston, Cincinnati pitcher Bronson Arroyo went 3-for-3, drove in a career-high four runs and pitched six strong innings to lead Cincinnati over Houston.

Arroyo had just six hits and three RBI in 84 career at-bats coming into Saturday's game. But he had a double and two singles to carry Cincinnati's offense, including RBI in the third, fifth and sixth innings, all against Andy Pettitte.

The win is Cincinnati's third in a row, and the loss is Houston's third in a row and their 20th in the past 28 games.

Arroyo (7-2) struck out six and allowed no earned runs with eight hits for the win.

Save for a solo home run by Ken Griffey Jr. in the fourth, the bottom part of the Reds lineup keyed the offense. Cincinnati's last three batters combined for six hits and six RBI and three runs in the first six innings.

Pettitte (4-7) didn't allow a hit until a triple by David Ross in the third inning. Arroyo followed with an RBI single to left field to put the Reds up 1-0.

Griffey hit the 544th home run of his career in the fourth to make it 2-0.

GIANTS 6, METS 4

In New York, Eliezer Alfonzo delivered a go-ahead homer for his first major league hit as San Francisco beat New York in the rain-delayed first game of a doubleheader.

Barry Bonds sparked the key rally and hit an RBI single during his first game in the Big Apple this season. Hard-throwing Matt Cain won his third consecutive start since being skipped in the rotation, and ex-Met Armando Benitez closed it out.

David Wright had three hits, but Orlando Hernandez lost his home debut for the Mets. New York had won 13 consecutive series openers at Shea Stadium, including 10 this season.