Soriano sparks Cubs as Silva stays perfect

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Carlos Silva is getting plenty of help from Cubs hitters to make quite a starting impression in Chicago.

Given a four-run lead before even throwing a pitch, Silva worked into the sixth inning of Chicago's 5-4 interleague series-clinching victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday. Silva became the first Cubs starter in 43 years to have a perfect record after six decisions -- and the first to begin his Cubs career that way since Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean in 1938.

"The whole rotation has been good, but I've been getting more run support than anyone else," Silva said. "That [4-0 lead] changed the whole game. You're a lot more comfortable on the mound. You're not afraid to throw strikes."

Alfonso Soriano's two-run homer capped a four-run first that put Silva and the Cubs ahead to stay before the big right-hander took the mound on a hot, sunny day in Texas.

Silva, who came to the Cubs in the offseason trade that sent Milton Bradley to Seattle, was done after 5 1/3 innings and 81 pitches. He allowed three runs and six hits before being relieved after Vladimir Guerrero's comebacker for an out to start the sixth.

"I was really hot, really tired," Silva said. "Plus, the bullpen has been unbelievable."

Carlos Marmol, the fourth Cubs reliever, earned his ninth save in 11 chances. The right-hander struck out three, including Michael Young and then Guerrero for the final out with a runner at second to get his second save in a row after Texas won the series opener 2-1.

The last 6-0 Cubs starter was Ken Holtzman in 1967, when he finished 9-0 in 12 starts.

C.J. Wilson (3-2) allowed five runs over 5 2/3 innings and lost for the first time in seven starts.

Xavier Nady scored what proved to be the decisive run for the Cubs with a gutsy headfirst slide in the sixth. He made it 5-3 when he lunged and reached his left arm between the legs of catcher Matt Treanor to slap the plate just before getting tagged by right fielder Nelson Cruz's strong throw after Koyie Hill's single.

"Running into the catcher with all the gear, the catcher has all the advantage," manager Lou Piniella said. "He did what he needed to do, and because of it we won a ball game."

Treanor couldn't recall a runner ever coming into him like that.

"I thought he was out," said Wilson, who then looked at the replay. "It wound up that he got his hand in there."

Rangers manager Ron Washington came out to discuss the call with home plate umpire Jerry Meals. The manager then went to the mound and pulled Wilson, who struck out five and walked three.

"After [the first], he competed," Washington said. "He just couldn't make up the deficit."

Bob Howry, re-signed by the Cubs on Friday after being released by Arizona with a 10.67 ERA in 14 appearances, allowed an RBI double to Young after coming on with two runners on in the seventh. Left-hander Sean Marshall got Josh Hamilton on an inning-ending liner with the bases loaded.

After Elvis Andrus had a leadoff single in the third, Young hit his fifth homer on the next pitch.

Cruz led off the fourth with the only walk from Silva, then scored on Julio Borbon's two-out single.

Chicago opened the game with three consecutive singles. Starlin Castro, the 20-year-old rookie shortstop, beat out a bunt for an infield single before Derrek Lee's RBI bloop single made it 1-0. Marlon Byrd then drove in a run with a groundout before Soriano hit his ninth homer of the season, his second two-run shot in two games.

"Maybe I was throwing too many strikes, slash getting bad bounces," said Wilson, who had strikes on 13 of his first 14 pitches, including the homer. "Soriano's ball, that's the one I want back."

Game notes
The Rangers had won five straight to open their homestand. They have three of the next eight days off, and don't play at home again until June 4. ... Young has 320 career doubles, matching Juan Gonzalez for third on the Rangers' list, one behind Rafael Palmeiro and 32 behind Ivan Rodriguez. ... Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez was out of the lineup again with recurring soreness between his left thumb and index finger. Ramirez had missed two games before being the DH on Saturday night, when he was 0 for 5 with four strikeouts. ... Wilson, the former reliever, had gone nearly 88 innings over 44 appearances without allowing a homer until two in the final inning of his previous start Tuesday. Then another in the first Sunday. ... The attendance for the three-game series was 122,900, the largest at Rangers Ballpark since the Yankees visited in July 2006.