CHICAGO (AP) -- Derrek Lee is starting to get some much-needed
help in the middle of the Chicago Cubs' lineup.
Aramis Ramirez had three hits, including a homer and four RBI,
in the Cubs' 11-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.Batting in front of Ramirez, Lee went 3-for-4 and scored three
runs from the No. 3 spot. Jeromy Burnitz, who hit sixth Sunday,
added a three-run homer in a five-run, sixth-inning rally that put
the Cubs ahead for good. He also drove in a run with a groundout."The last couple of days have been pretty good and I put the
ball on the bat," said Ramirez, who also hit a two-run homer on
Saturday. "The big guy [Lee] has been carrying us for a while.
It's time for somebody else to step up to."Ramirez has been hampered by a sore groin and back this season.
But he was 7-for-17 as the Cubs took three of four games from the
Rockies."I knew he was going to hit sooner or later," Cubs manager
Dusty Baker said. "He's starting to come alive, see the ball
better and see better pitches. I'm just glad to see it happening."Todd Walker had his first career pinch-hit homer for the Cubs,
who at 24-24 climbed back to .500 for the first time since May 1.The Rockies kept Lee, the NL leader with 16 home runs, in the
park, but not off the bases. Lee, who hit two homers on both Friday
and Saturday, had three singles, a walk and an RBI. He has eight
hits in his last 10 at-bats."Home runs are accidents," Lee said. "I swing and try to hit
the ball hard. Today, I didn't get anything in there, but I'm happy
with the singles."Guys are starting to swing the bats well," he added. "That's
when pitchers start feeling pressure and when they make mistakes.
If we get our 2-3-4 guys swinging the bats good at one time, we can
be dangerous."The Cubs' No. 2 hitter, Neifi Perez, added three singles.
Chicago had 15 hits.Roberto Novoa (1-1) got the win in relief of starter Sergio
Mitre, although he pitched just two-thirds of an inning and gave up
a hit and two walks.Colorado's Luis Gonzalez had a solo homer and a two-run single.
His bases-loaded single in the sixth gave the Rockies a 6-5 lead,
but the Cubs answered with five in their half of the inning. Lee
and Ramirez singled in runs before Burnitz lofted his three-run
shot to left.Preston Wilson also hit a homer, his third in the four-games
series, and J.D. Closser added a two-run shot as the Rockies lost
on the road for the 23rd time in 27 games.Neither starter, Mitre or Colorado's Jeff Francis, was able to
retire the side in order in any inning.Francis allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings. Mitre
gave up six runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.Marcos Carvajal (0-2) was charged with four runs and three hits
while getting just one out in the sixth."This is a ballgame we let get away," Rockies manager Clint
Hurdle said. "We haven't hit when we pitched well. We score some
runs, then we don't pitch very well. It's kind of like being a
hitter who's behind the fastball and ahead of the breaking stuff."Closser gave the Rockies a 2-0 lead in the second with his
homer. The Cubs cut it to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on
doubles by Jason Dubois and Corey Patterson.Gonzalez made it 3-1 in the third with his solo shot. The Cubs
tied it 3-all in the bottom of the inning on Ramirez's double and
Burnitz's groundout.Colorado regained the lead on Wilson's homer in the fifth.
Ramirez put the Cubs back in front 5-4 in the bottom of the inning
when he homered to left after Lee walked.
Rockies INF Todd Helton snapped an 0-for-16 slump with a
line single in the first. It was his first hit in the four-game
series. He still has just three hits in his last 46 at-bats. ...
RHP Jon Leicester arrived in time for Sunday's game after being
recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. In 13 innings at Iowa,
Leicester was 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA. This is Leicester's third stint
with the Cubs this season. In six appearances and nine innings,
he's 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA. ... Sunday's crowd of 40,322 was the
largest this season at Wrigley Field.