Ramirez hits three-run homer in first


CHICAGO (AP) -- Matt Clement can't wait for Kerry Wood and Mark
Prior to get off the disabled list and start pitching again.

Until then, he plans on leading the Chicago Cubs' rotation like
he has most of the season.

"I want to pick up those guys, Mark and Kerry, because they did
it for me last year and in the past," Clement said.

The right-hander picked up his club-best sixth win and the Cubs
held on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals and longtime nemesis Matt
Morris 4-3 Sunday night.

"You can't go out there and say, 'Hey I'm going to pick these
guys up, I'm going to pitch different," Clement said. "The key
is keeping a level head and pitching the same way."

Clement, so sick with flu on Thursday he couldn't come to the
ballpark, got some help Sunday night -- a four-run first highlighted
by Aramis Ramirez's three-run homer and solid bullpen work from
LaTroy Hawkins and Joe Borowski.

"It's amazing what we have been doing without Prior, Wood,
(Mark) Grudzielanek and now Sammy (Sosa) went down," Ramirez said.

"We got a pretty good team and a pretty good bench."

Clement (6-3) went seven innings, retiring 11 straight during
one stretch and allowing three hits -- including Albert Pujols' 12th
homer in the sixth and Scott Rolen's 10th in the seventh that made
it a one-run game.

Hawkins pitched a perfect eighth, and Borowski got three outs
for his eighth save and club-record 22nd straight dating to Aug. 5.

The Cubs, despite having seven players on the DL, moved into a
first-place tie in the NL Central with the Reds. And Clement has
played a big role in the Cubs' success.

"He was a bit weak, but sometimes that relaxes you. He
struggled some but made pitches when he had to," Cubs manger Dusty
Baker said of Clement.

"Matty stepped up from day one. I will be extremely happy to
get those first two starters back again. We don't have them and you
can't depend on what you don't have. What you can depend on is what
you do have."

Morris (4-4) came in with a 10-2 career record and a streak of
20 straight scoreless innings against the Cubs, a stretch that
dated to last season and included a nine-inning effort earlier this

"Man, I'd take a couple pitches back," Morris said. "We got a
run in the first and then all of a sudden I go out there and before
you know it, it's 4-1."

The Cubs ended their drought against him a hurry, scoring four
in the first for the second straight game.

Leadoff hitter Tom Goodwin, starting because he was 5-for-10
lifetime against Morris, singled and raced to third on single by
Moises Alou.

Ramirez then drove his 10th homer to left for a 3-1 lead. After
Derrek Lee walked, Michael Barrett hit an RBI double over Jim
Edmonds' head in center to make it 4-1.

"I tried to back Ramirez off, which I did. Then I tried to
sneak one in. And there was no sneaking going on," Morris said.
"It's not the home run that hurt. It's the two hits before it."

Morris lasted seven innings, and gave up nine hits.

Clement allowed a run in the first when he walked Pujols and
Edmonds with two outs and Rolen hit an RBI single, but the
Cardinals' potential big inning was ended when Edmonds got thrown
out at third.

"That's a baserunning mistake," Cardinals manager Tony La
Russa said. "Who knows what that inning could have been."

Game notes
Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood will have a bone scan Monday after
he had to cut short a live batting practice session Sunday because
he had discomfort in his right triceps. Wood was placed on the DL
last Thursday. Earlier tests showed just inflammation, no tears.
... Morris has surrendered a major league-high 15 homers. ... After
he crossed the plate on his homer, Pujols put a finger to his lips
to tell the fans to be quiet. "They were saying a couple of things
I didn't appreciate about my family," he said. "You don't mess
with my family. You can say whatever you want to me. ... I didn't
like it, so when I crossed the plate, I just told them to be