CHICAGO -- There aren't many positives the Chicago Cubs will take away once this awful season reaches its conclusion, so they'll cling to this one.
They're 7-3 under interim manager Mike Quade. It's small consolation, but it'll do for now.Alfonso Soriano and Blake DeWitt each hit three-run homers, and the Cubs beat the New York Mets 7-6 on Friday.It was a wild start to a weekend series between two disappointing teams, but the Cubs ultimately did just enough to come away with another win."It's unfortunate that Lou [Piniella] had to leave the way he did," pitcher Randy Wells said. "He's a great manager, but when a guy like Quade steps in, it's a little more youthful, a little more energetic."And the Cubs played with just enough pizzazz to pull out this game.David Wright delivered a two-run double and scored in the first as the Mets grabbed a 3-0 lead against Wells. Then, with the Cubs ahead 7-4, Wright homered off Andrew Cashner leading off the seventh, giving him three hits.Things really got interesting when Luis Hernandez started the eighth against Sean Marshall with his second career homer and first since Sept. 27, 2007. That made it 7-6, but the Mets came up short for the fourth time in five games.The Cubs are showing some spark since Quade took over for the retired Piniella."Everybody was happy when Lou was here, but now, we're playing better," Soriano said. "We have to finish strong."Former Mets outfielder Xavier Nady had three hits. Starlin Castro had a pair of singles for his fifth straight multihit game, but the biggest blows came from Soriano and DeWitt. And both came with two outs against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (9-6)."I kind of have to step up and own that and be accountable there because anytime we score six runs, we need to win the ballgame," Dickey said.Soriano capped a four-run fourth with his 22nd homer, briefly putting the Cubs ahead 4-3. The Mets tied it in the sixth when Angel Pagan singled with two out and came around on a double to the right-field corner by Lucas Duda, the first hit and RBI of his career.That chased Wells, who gave up eight hits and was shaky again after going 1-4 in six starts last month. James Russell (1-1) came on and retired a pinch-hitting Carlos Beltran to end the Mets' rally, and the Cubs answered in a big way in the bottom half, giving him his first major league win.Aramis Ramirez led off with a walk, Nady followed with a single and, with two out, DeWitt drove a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall for his fifth homer, making it 7-4.But the Cubs couldn't relax thanks to the homers by Wright and Hernandez, who had come on in the seventh as part of a double switch. The Mets had the tying run on in the ninth after Carlos Marmol walked Joaquin Arias, but he retired Josh Thole on a fly for his 26th save in 31 chances.It was a rough afternoon for Dickey, who saw his ERA rise from 2.57 to 2.91. The seven runs allowed over six innings were the most for him since Aug. 20, 2008, when he allowed eight for Seattle in a loss to the Chicago White Sox."The one to Soriano I can stomach a little bit more because it broke down into his bat path and that's going to happen. The one to DeWitt was just poor execution, poor mechanics," Dickey said. "When I released it I thought it was going to be high. I was hoping he'd either swing under it or take it for a ball. He swung at it, he covered it, it was a mistake and it cost us."Wells, meanwhile, continues to struggle after a promising rookie season."You put yourself in the mindset in spring training that the sophomore jinx or whatever you guys call it isn't real, you can work through it," he said. "The truth of the matter is I think the sophomore jinx is mental. ... I've got a lot of things to work on, it's no secret."
Mets ace Johan Santana remains day to day with a strained left pectoral muscle after leaving Thursday's win over Atlanta. ... The Cubs will unveil a statue of Hall of Famer Billy Williams outside Wrigley Field before Tuesday's game against Atlanta. The sculpture at the corner of Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue takes the place of Harry Caray's, which is now by the bleachers entrance. ... GM Jim Hendry said he had lunch with but did not formally interview Triple-A Iowa manager Ryne Sandberg for the Cubs' job during a visit to Albuquerque.
31,424 (76.6% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
66 degrees, cloudy
Home Plate - Brian Gorman, First Base - Todd Tichenor, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Paul Nauert
David Wright (NYM): 3-5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI
Wright recorded his 2nd straight multihit game after suffering through a 2-22 stretch from Aug. 27-Sept. 1.
One of the keys to his big game against the Cubs Friday was his success against pitches "down and away". Of the 20 pitches he saw, 9 were in that location and the Mets third baseman was 2-4. For the season, Wright is hitting .194 on "down and away" pitches put in play - his worst number among the 9 spots.