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D-Lee's back but Cubs still can't handle Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs welcomed back last year's batting champ, Derrek Lee, but it was this year's likely winner that had the last laugh.

Freddy Sanchez had three hits to raise his NL-leading batting
average to .349, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cubs 11-6 in a
matchup of the teams with the poorest records in the National
League.

"Everyone was getting good at bats, putting good wood on the
ball," Sanchez said. "It was good to see everyone hitting the
ball well. It was one of those nights where everyone was getting
good at bats."

Sanchez has hit safely in 17 of his past 20 games and leads
Florida's Miguel Cabrera by 12 points in the batting race.

"This guy is not only fighting to win a batting championship,
but you watch him every day, and he just keeps becoming a better
and better offensive player," Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said.
"This guy is a premiere offensive player."

Chris Duffy had three hits, three runs, two RBI and a stolen
base, and Ronny Paulino had three hits and two RBI for Pittsburgh,
which got 15 hits in the first five innings, took a 9-1 lead and
stopped a three-game losing streak.

The Pirates finished with 19 hits, and every starter except the
pitcher had at least one. Pittsburgh was coming off a 13-1 loss to
Houston.

"When you get beat as badly as we did yesterday and to come
back as we did today is a sign of where we are and how far we have
come as a team," Tracy said.

Ian Snell (12-8) won despite allowing five runs, five hits and
three walks in 5 2/3 innings. Snell became the first Pirates
right-hander -- and only their second pitcher overall -- to win 12
games in the last four seasons. Kip Wells and Josh Fogg each won 12
games in 2002, and lefty Oliver Perez won 12 in 2004.

"I set some goals for myself," Snell said. "I'm excited for
myself and for my team because every win we get is a hard-fought.
We're fighting to get as close to .500 as we can."

Lee, who had been on the disabled list since July 24
because of an inflamed right wrist, had a two-run single for the
Cubs, and Juan Pierre went 3-for-4 with two RBI.

"I got some good pitches to hit," said Lee, who flied out
sharply to center in his other three at-bats. "Got some good wood
on them, but I wouldn't exactly say I'm back in the groove quite
yet."

It was the second time on the DL
this season for Lee. He
was on the 15-day disabled list from April 21-June 25 after he
fractured the distal radius and distal ulna bones in his right
wrist on April 19 in Los Angeles.

Lee, 30, is batting .261 with four home runs and 14 RBI in 34
games this season. Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he would monitor
the condition of Lee's wrist and consider giving him more days off
than he normally would the remainder of the season.

Angel Guzman (0-4) allowed eight runs and 10 hits in three-plus
innings. He lost to the Pirates 8-0 on May 2 in Chicago.

The Cubs (54-87) went ahead when Pierre hit the third pitch of
the game for his second home run, but Pittsburgh (51-81) took the
lead for good on Jason Bay's two-run homer in the bottom half.

Duffy, Jose Bautista and Sanchez hit RBI singles in the third.
After Guzman walked Bay with the bases loaded and no outs in the
fourth, Paulino hit a two-run single off Glendon Rusch. Bautista's
RBI single made it 9-1 in the fifth.

"Today we all swung the bat real well, which is good after what
happened yesterday," Bautista said. "Hopefully, that will
continue."

Chicago closed in the sixth on Lee's two-run single and Michael
Barrett's two-run double, which chased Snell.

"We battled back and threatened and got close, and they jumped
us again in the (eighth)," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We've
got to hold them."

Game Notes
To make room for Lee, the Cubs optioned infielder Buck Coats to
Triple-A Iowa. Coats, 24, was 0-for-3 as a pinch hitter with the
Cubs since being recalled Aug. 22. ... Rain -- heavy at times -- started in the bottom of the fourth
and continued throughout the remainder of the game. There were no
delays. ... Pierre's home run was the third of his career leading
off a game. ... Bay's 29th homer stopped an 0-for-12 slide. ...
Duffy was 0-for-14 coming in. ... The Pirates are 11-2 when Duffy
steals a base.