PHILADELPHA (AP) -- The middle of the Chicago Cubs' lineup has
made things much easier for their manager of late.
"The guys are starting to swing the bats and it feels good,"
Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "Their confidence levels are
rising. It feels good to write almost the same lineup in every
Alou went 2-for-4 and has six homers and 13 RBI in his last
nine games. Lee's homer was his fifth in nine games, and his fifth
in 31 at-bats against Brett Myers (5-8).
Sosa hit a two-run drive in the eighth off Ryan Madson, a
445-foot shot to center that ended the pitcher's scoreless streak
at 21 innings.
Sosa, Alou and Lee -- the Nos. 3-4-5 hitters -- combined to go
5-for-11 with four runs scored.
"It was a close game until Sammy went deep," Alou said. "You
have to pitch well in this park because it's kind of small."
Wood (5-3) improved to 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA since returning from
nearly two months on the disabled list caused by a strained right
triceps. He opened by allowing Jimmy Rollins' triple, Placido Polanco's RBI single and Bobby Abreu's walk, but then pitched
shutout ball through the sixth. He gave up five hits, struck out
six and walked four.
"It was a little luck and making key pitches in key
situations," Wood said. "I'm not going to say I threw the ball
well. I made mistakes that they didn't take advantage of."
Myers, winless since June 17, allowed three runs and five hits
in seven innings. Philadelphia, which has lost nine of 15, dropped
out of a first-place tie with Atlanta in the NL East, falling a
Phillies first baseman Jim Thome, who leads the majors with 31
homers, missed the game because of tendinitis in his right index
finger. Thome, who received an injection after Thursday's loss to
Florida, expects to play Saturday.
Philadelphia closer Billy Wagner will be sidelined through the
weekend because of a strained left shoulder. Wagner was examined
around game time after experiencing discomfort during a pregame
"When you throw as hard as I do, things like that happen,"
said Wagner, who threw 1 1/3 innings Wednesday.
Lee's solo homer in the second and Alou's two-run drive in the
fourth put Chicago ahead 3-0. Alou leads the Cubs with 25 home
"I made one mistake tonight that hurt me," Myers said of
Alou's homer. "I just tried to keep it close from then on."
Chase Utley, starting in place of Thome, hit an inning-ending
grounder with two on in the third. With runners at second and third
in the fifth, Wood ended then inning by striking out Bobby Abreu
and retiring Pat Burrell on a flyout.
"The Cubs have as good a starting pitching team as anybody in
baseball," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "We had some
opportunities against Wood in the first few innings, but we didn't
cash in on them."
Abreu got his team-high 23rd stolen base in the third
inning. He has been caught just once this season. ... Rollins hit
his fifth triple of the year. The switch-hitter has hit all five
left-handed. ... Wood threw 101 pitches, eclipsing 100 for the
first time since May 5. ... Alou has hit safely in his last seven
games. Lee has a six-game hitting streak.
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