Soto's 3 RBIs, Edmonds HR power Cubs past Orioles

CHICAGO (AP) -- With another outfielder injured, the Chicago Cubs got a lift from veteran Jim Edmonds and rookie Geovany Soto to beat the Baltimore Orioles, who had some physical problems of their own.

Edmonds homered and walked three times and Soto had three RBIs and reached base four times as the Cubs overcame two homers by Jay Payton for a 7-4 victory Wednesday night.

Right fielder Kosuke Fukudome was a late scratch with a tight left calf. The Cubs already have two outfielders, Alfonso Soriano and Reed Johnson, on the disabled list.

"Everybody has picked up the slack," Edmonds said. "If somebody goes down, we got a bench than can go in and play anywhere they want. That's the best thing about this team right now, we're well-rounded."

The Cubs simply used Eric Patterson in left and Mark DeRosa in right, both of whom can play in the infield, as well. DeRosa is usually the starting second baseman.

Fukudome, who'd been batting leadoff for the last six games while Soriano recovers from a broken hand, ran before the game and could only go 75 to 80 percent.

"There is no sense with all the injures we have to take a chance with that," manager Lou Piniella said, adding he didn't expect Fukudome to play in Thursday's series finale.

"There was very minimal tightness for a couple of days but yesterday after the game I felt a little stronger tightness," Fukudome said through a translator.

"We'll see how I feel tomorrow and then we go from there."

Without Fukudome, the Cubs jumped on Baltimore spot starter Matt Albers for four first-inning runs.

Albers (3-3) made the start when Brian Burres was scratched about 2½ hours before the game because of a stomach ailment.

But Albers' outing was a painfully short one.

He threw only 21 pitches and faced five batters in the bottom of the first before leaving with discomfort in his right shoulder. In a third of an inning, Albers was charged with four runs, gave up three hits and walked a batter.

Albers began to feel some pain when he faced leadoff hitter Patterson, the only batter he retired.

"I just felt a little bit of discomfort. I tried to go through it a little bit, but I felt like it was probably best to just stop. I'll get it checked out and go from there."

Payton homered twice off Ted Lilly (8-5) to lead the Orioles, who'd snapped the Cubs' 14-game home field winning streak Tuesday night.

Lilly went seven innings and gave up five hits and four runs -- his biggest problem being longtime nemesis Payton. After going 2-for-3 against Lilly, Payton is now 9-for-19 with three homers in his career against the left-hander.

"I honestly don't look at my numbers. ... I'll take it. It's just one of those things. He gave me some pitches to hit and I put good swings on them," Payton said.

Lilly said even the big lead didn't give him that much comfort.

"I made some mistakes again. Fortunately I'm getting away with it because we score a lot of runs," he said.

Carlos Marmol pitched the eighth and Kerry Wood struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save in 24 chances.

In the first, Ryan Theriot doubled off third baseman Melvin Mora's glove, moved to third on Derrek Lee's single behind second and scored on Aramis Ramirez's RBI single to left. After Albers walked Edmonds to load the bases, Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz visited the mound and quickly signaled for a trainer.

Lance Cormier relieved and got as many warmup pitches as he needed but was greeted by Soto's two-run single, a hard shot that hit in front of shortstop Alex Cintron and skipped past him. Both runners moved up on the throw to the plate and DeRosa made it 4-0 with an RBI single to right.

Payton hit a two-out homer on an 0-2 pitch in the second to cut the Cubs' lead in half.

But the Cubs got it right back in the bottom half. Edmonds got an RBI on a bases-loaded fielder's choice grounder and Soto delivered another run-scoring single to make it 6-2. Payton homered again in the fourth with a drive over the wall in right.

Edmonds hit his seventh homer, off Ryan Bukvich, to lead off the fourth and make it 7-4.

Game notes
Albers' start was just his third in 28 appearances this season. ... Ramirez has 10 RBIs over the five games of the Cubs' current homestand. ... Baltimore pitching issued 10 free passes.