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Clement wins fifth straight start

5/6/2004

CHICAGO (AP) -- Derrek Lee is finally feeling at home with the
Chicago Cubs.

Lee went 5-for-5, including a three-run homer, and had five RBI
Thursday as the Cubs beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-3 Thursday to
avoid a three-game sweep.

"It was just one of those days, it seemed like every pitch I
was looking for was there for me," Lee said. "I was aggressive
with it and got a good swing on them and was able to get some hits.

"You're not going to be able to go 5-for-5 every day. I don't
think I'd ever gotten five hits before. It was a great day. It was
a lot of fun out there," he said.

Traded from the Florida Marlins in the offseason, Lee's five
hits were a career high and they helped Matt Clement win his fifth
straight start.

Lee hurt the Cubs last season, getting key hits in Games 6 and 7
of the NL Championship Series to help the Marlins advance to the
World Series where they beat the New York Yankees.

Lee struggled in April, while the player he was dealt for, Hee
Seop Choi, showed his power. Choi already has nine homers for
Florida.

"Maybe in the first few home games I was probably pressing a
little bit," Lee said.

"I'd like to blame it on that (pressure), but it seems like
every April I'm not very good for some reason or another. But
another bad April for me. I'm glad it's over with. I'm just going
to try and build on today."

Lee raised his average from .256 to .295 with his performance
Thursday, and his homer keyed a five-run fifth inning for a Cubs
offense that had been struggling. Chicago was shut out Wednesday
and had managed only 22 runs in its previous nine games.

Clement (5-1) allowed three runs and seven hits over seven
innings for his team-high fifth win.

"I just kept telling myself: `Don't let this get out of hand.
Don't let this get out of hand. We're going to come back," said
Clement, who faced an early 3-1 deficit.

"We'd only lost two in a row, it wasn't like we'd lost six or
seven in a row. I wasn't worried about us scoring, I just wanted to
keep the game close enough so when we scored it mattered."

Trailing 3-1 headed into the fifth, the Cubs got three straight
singles to chase Elmer Dessens (1-4) and make it a one-run game.
Aramis Ramirez greeted Oscar Villarreal with another RBI single to
tie it and one out later, Lee homered to left to make it 6-3.

"I'm very frustrated," Dessens said. "I don't know how to
explain it. But there's nothing I can do but keep going and keep
working and stay positive. It was not a good day. I didn't look
like a good pitcher."

Arizona's defense was a comedy of errors in the sixth when the
first three Chicago batters reached thanks to misplays -- by third
baseman Chad Tracy, second baseman Matt Kata and first baseman Shea
Hillenbrand.

Sammy Sosa then walked on four pitches to force in a run, and
Lee later hit a hard single off Tracy's glove to make it 8-3.

"It came unglued there a little bit in the sixth inning,"
Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "It just wasn't a very pretty
game. We are happy we won the series, but we hate to have it end on
a game like this."

In Chicago's eighth, Lee singled with two outs to set up Michael
Barrett's two-run single and an RBI single by Ramon Martinez.

The Diamondbacks made it 3-1 in the third on Hillenbrand's RBI
single and threatened for more. But after Clement intentionally
walked Steve Finley to load the bases, he retired Danny Bautista on
a popup and Tracy on a grounder.

Game notes
Cubs SS Alex Gonzalez could miss up to two months after
breaking a bone in his right wrist when he was hit by a ball from
Mike Koplove on Wednesday night. The pitch was ruled a foul ball
and Gonzalez stayed in the game before striking out. He then played
a half-inning in the field before leaving the game. The Cubs will
call up IF Damian Jackson from Triple-A Iowa. ... Chicago LF Moises
Alou, in an 0-for-16 slump, got the day off and Todd Hollandsworth
started in left. ... The Diamondbacks were trying for their first
three-game sweep at Wrigley Field since 1999. ... Arizona's Doug
DeVore made his first major league plate appearance when he
pinch-hit in the sixth inning and struck out.