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Four Cubs, Gonzalez included, homer

4/20/2004

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs have been making a lot of
pitchers look very bad lately. Ryan Vogelsong just wishes they
wouldn't keep doing it to him.

Alex Gonzalez homered, doubled and drove in four runs and the
Cubs beat up on Vogelsong for the second time in a week, defeating
the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1 Tuesday night.

Corey Patterson, Todd Walker and Michael Barrett also homered to
back Carlos Zambrano (2-0). The Cubs won for the fifth time in
seven games and ended the Pirates' three-game winning streak.

Zambrano limited the Pirates to one run and seven hits, striking
out four and walking two over eight innings. He beat Vogelsong
(1-2) for the second straight start.

Vogelsong isn't the only pitcher struggling right now against
the Cubs, who have scored at least eight runs in all but one of
their last seven games. They have averaged 9.3 runs during that
span.

"Potential is a dangerous word, but we have a lot of guys (who
can hit)," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "You look up and down
the lineup and everybody can hit the ball out of the ballpark. And
different guys are taking their turns right now."

Gonzalez had only one RBI -- a pinch-hit homer April 11 -- until
delivering a two-run double in a four-run first and a two-run homer
in the fifth that made it 8-1.

Gonzalez is 7-for-13 the last three games after having only six
hits in the first 2{ weeks of the season.

"I had a rough beginning where I was hitting the ball right at
guys and then you start putting a little pressure on yourself," he
said. "I had to regroup and go back to what I was doing in spring
training, and that's when they started dropping."

Vogelsong wouldn't mind getting back to pitching like he did
during spring training, when he had an ERA that hovered around
2.00.

He began the season by limiting the Phillies to one run in seven
innings during a 6-2 victory on April 8, but has allowed 19 hits
and 15 earned runs over eight innings in consecutive losses to
Chicago.

Patterson added a two-run homer in the big first inning and
Walker had a solo shot as the Cubs again hit three homers off
Vogelsong.

"They definitely have my number, that's for sure," Vogelsong
said. "I've got to be better, because I've put my team in a hole
for two starts in a row. ... I got into trouble early, and I should
have just stepped back and slowed myself down, but things just
weren't going right."

Vogelsong lasted three innings in an 8-3 loss Wednesday,
yielding homers to Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou and Aramis Ramirez. He
was nearly as ineffective Tuesday in allowing nine runs and eight
hits in five innings.

"He stunk. He just wasn't good," manager Lloyd McClendon said.
"He started elevating his pitches early ... and that got him in
trouble. He's not a polished pitcher yet, he's going to have his
ups and downs, but there's no panic. We'll make him better."

Walker walked to start the game, and Patterson followed with a
shot into the right-field seats that made it 2-0. Ramirez, who has
driven in 14 runs in his last seven games, and Derrek Lee singled
with two outs ahead of Gonzalez's double.

"When you have a four-run lead right away, you feel good and
can just throw ball and let the other team make outs for you,"
Zambrano said.

Zambrano has limited Pittsburgh to two runs in 14 innings this
season after failing to beat them in his first five career starts
against them. The Pirates' only run against him Tuesday came on
Tike Redman's leadoff triple and Jack Wilson's single in the sixth.

Sosa and Alou doubled to start the fifth, and Gonzalez homered
three batters later. Barrett connected off Jason Boyd in the
eighth.
^Notes:@ Three of Barrett's four homers this season are against
Pittsburgh. ... Since losing their home opener 13-2 to Pittsburgh,
the Cubs have outscored the Pirates 27-9 in three consecutive
victories. ... The Cubs have at least 10 hits in all eight
victories. They had 11 Tuesday. ... The Pirates were held to four
or fewer runs for the eighth time in 13 games. ... After drawing a
club-record 159,461 for their four-game weekend series against the
Reds in Wrigley Field, the Cubs played before only 11,746 on
Tuesday night. The Pirates' last two home games, both on
weeknights, have drawn a combined 21,435.