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Trachsel wins seventh straight start as Mets dump Cubs

CHICAGO (AP) -- Steve Trachsel worked slowly and the Cubs lost.
Must have seemed like old times for longtime faithful at Wrigley
Field.

But it was Trachsel who lulled the Cubs' bats to sleep, winning
his seventh straight start as the New York Mets used a four-run
fourth inning defeat the Cubs 6-3 on Friday.

"Same Trachsel," said Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee. "He
works slow and he throws slow. But that's what he does. You know
coming in that's what he does and he's effective with it."

Down 2-1 after three innings, the Mets had four hits in the
fourth and got help when Ronny Cedeno's throwing error allowed two
runs to score, sending Greg Maddux to his fifth straight loss.

Trachsel (9-4) gave up two runs on three hits in six innings.
The former Cub, who was 60-69 in six-plus seasons as a North Sider,
hasn't lost since May 17, a span of 10 starts. He retired 13 of 15
batters after a two-run first inning, giving up a single and a
walk.

"They were pretty aggressive, so I just tried to execute real
good pitches early in the count," Trachsel said. "I prefer them
to put the ball in play the first two or three pitches. Strikeouts
take too long to get, especially for me."

Trachsel's winning streak is the best for a Met since Bobby
Jones won eight in a row in 1997.

"He's on a nice little streak right now," Mets manager Willie
Randolph said. "We don't want to wake him up. Just keep him going,
just keep him going."

The Mets hitters obviously don't mind Trachsel's slow pace. They
have averaged 7.4 runs during his winning streak.

"Things have been going real well for us," Trachsel said.
"I've been pitching well and we've been scoring lots of runs when
I pitch."

The Mets won their third straight game.

Maddux (7-10) hasn't won since June 9 and is 2-10 since his
perfect April. He gave up five earned runs on eight hits in seven
innings, striking out six on 98 pitches. No matter how many games
Maddux loses, with the Cubs all but out of it, he has been the
subject of constant trade speculation.

"I love playing in Chicago, no question," Maddux said. "I
understand there are choices that have to be made. The city and the
organization have been great to me. But whatever happens, happens.
Either way, I'm good with it."

On a sticky afternoon, in which there was a 45-minute rain delay
after the fifth inning, the 40-year-old Maddux gave up consecutive
singles to Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Beltran to start the fourth.
After a strikeout by Carlos Delgado, David Wright knocked in Lo
Duca with an RBI single. Cliff Floyd drove in another run with a
double.

Maddux intentionally walked Xavier Nady to face Chris Woodward,
who grounded to second. After getting the lead runner, Cedeno's
errant throw over a sliding Nady went past Derrek Lee at first.
Wright scored on the groundout and Floyd scored on the error.
Cedeno was shaken up after the play but stayed in the game. Cedeno
had a cleat mark in his left shin after the game.

"Those are plays we need to make," Lee said. "We didn't make
them today and it turned out to be the difference."

Woodward tripled off the top of the wall in left in the seventh
and scored on a sacrifice fly by Eli Marrero.

The Cubs took the lead in the first on a two-run double by
Jacque Jones.

Jose Valentin had three hits. He doubled and scored on Beltran's
groundout in the first.

Game notes
Beltran didn't return to the game after the rain delay with
soreness in his right knee. Endy Chavez replaced him. Randolph said
Beltran is day-to-day. ... Cubs RHP Mark Prior went on the 15-day
disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle. Prior was hurt
during batting practice last Saturday in Milwaukee. Prior was put
on the DL retroactive to July 5 so he is eligible to come off next
week. He began the season on the DL, coming off it on June 18 and
going 0-4 in four starts since. He was supposed to start Sunday.
... Mets RHP Pedro Martinez said he has been ill from possible food
poisoning since Tuesday and said he still felt weak Friday. He has
been on the DL since July 6 with an inflammation in his right hip.
... The Mets are 13-5 when Trachsel starts. ... Before this season,
Trachsel's previous best winning streak was four starts, from Aug.
7-23, 2003. ... Cedeno said he should be fine to play Saturday. ...
Cubs reliever Scott Williamson got hit in the right calf by a Nady
groundout to end the eighth. He reported a temporary loss of
feeling in the calf and is listed as day-to-day.