Cubs secure series sweep of Rockies
Chicago caps undefeated homestand with seventh straight win
CHICAGO -- The calendar turned over from May to June, but the Cubs kept right on winning.
Jim Edmonds doubled, tripled and drew a bases-loaded walk to help the Cubs beat the Rockies, 5-3, on Sunday to finish off a four-game sweep and extend their Major League-leading winning streak to seven.
Alfonso Soriano homered for the second straight day as Sean Gallagher (3-1) notched the win in 5 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs on six hits. The rookie struck out a career-high eight and walked none in front of 41,730, the biggest crowd of the season at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs had the best record in baseball entering June for the first time in 100 years -- 1908, the year of their last World Series championship.
The Cubs went undefeated on a homestand for the first time since April 14-26, 1970. Just about everything is clicking.
"I think we're playing baseball right now the way we're supposed to play," Soriano said. "We're playing baseball the right way."
His manager agreed.
"Well, the homestand couldn't have been better," Cubs skipper Lou Piniella said. "Everybody on the roster contributed on this homestand, which is really, really nice to see. ... These guys are playing hard, and it's a nice brand of baseball that they're playing."
Now, can they take the momentum on the road? Trips to San Diego and Los Angeles are on the docket. The Cubs have gone 10-13 away from Wrigley so far, but Soriano believes the team has meshed over the last week.
"We want to play better on the road," Soriano said. "Now, the team is together, so we know what we have to do. The team is playing like a team now. Sometimes [when] we have a rough road trip, we're just not comfortable. Now, I think everybody has pulled everything together. We're in good position."
Ryan Theriot singled and scored on an Aramis Ramirez single in the first to give the Cubs the early lead on Sunday, but the Rockies moved on top in the fourth when Garrett Atkins led off the inning with a single and moved to third on Seth Smith's double. Ian Stewart drove in Atkins with a single, and Omar Quintanilla plated Smith with a sacrifice fly to left.
The Cubs took the lead back in the bottom half of the fourth. Ramirez, who went 3-for-3, singled to lead off. After Kosuke Fukudome struck out, Geovany Soto walked and Edmonds doubled home Ramirez. Mark DeRosa reached on an error to plate Soto and put the Cubs up, 3-2.
With no outs in the fifth, Theriot and Micah Hoffpauir singled and Ramirez walked to load the bases. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-6) fanned Fukudome and Soto, but walked Edmonds to bring Theriot home. Edmonds, who had a rocky start with the Cubs, reached base three times for the second time in three days.
"Edmonds is starting to contribute offensively, [which is] very important to us," Piniella said. "He's starting to drive that ball -- the [triple] to center field, the [double] to left field off the ivy. Yeah, [those were] good swings. The ball is jumping off his bat a little more."
Quintanilla's two-out double in the sixth ended Gallagher's day. Michael Wuertz came in and gave up a run-scoring double and a walk before striking out pinch-hitter Willy Taveras to get out of the jam with the Cubs leading, 4-3.
Manuel Corpas relieved Jimenez after the fifth and gave up Soriano's 13th home run, a solo smash to left.
Scott Eyre and Bob Howry kept the lead intact for Kerry Wood, who picked up his 14th save. Soriano was pulled in the ninth for the second game in a row, but don't get worried.
"We just double switched with our pitcher," Piniella said. "Don't read anything into that, please. We could have done it with [Reed] Johnson, but it happened that Soriano made the last out [in the eighth], and we just kept Johnson in the game."
Fukudome went 0-for-4 and struck out three times for the first time in his rookie season, but the Cubs didn't need his bat on Sunday. As was the case throughout this four-game series, different players stepped up each day.
"That's a mark of a good team is, they find a way to win. [They] figure it out," Theriot said. "Whether you've got a big deficit or you're not hitting one day or you're not pitching one day, you just figure out a way to win. It takes everybody on the field. [It's] evident that that's what we've been doing. Everybody's been contributing in their own way."
Piniella kept his plan simple for the upcoming road trip.
"We're not trying to fix anything; we're just trying to let these guys play," he said. "We're not going to invent the wheel here, believe me. Things are going good. Leave these guys alone and let them play, that's it."
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.