CHICAGO – Two people hit balls over the Wrigley Field fence, and neither was Barry Bonds. The slugger just watched as his team lost another tough one.
Aramis Ramirez lined a go-ahead two-run double off the wall in left with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Chicago Cubs rallied for a 3-2 victory over the slumping San Francisco Giants on Monday night.
Rich Hill (6-6) won for the first time in more than a month, getting just enough offense in eight innings. Bob Howry finished for his sixth save in 10 chances.
Koyie Hill hit a solo home run in the third for the Cubs, who won their fourth straight since the All-Star break and 16th in 20 overall to move a season-best five games over .500. Chicago sent San Francisco to its fifth consecutive defeat and fourth in a row to start the second half on a day Bonds was a late scratch from the lineup to rest his sore legs.
After Ramirez’s double off Randy Messenger cleared the bases, fans began throwing garbage over the outfield fences from several directions in a strange response to their team taking the lead. The grounds crew scurried out to clean up the mess.
Tim Lincecum, who struck out eight in 6 1-3 innings.
Lincecum was coming off his first two-start winning streak after beating Arizona and St. Louis before the All-Star break. After Alfonso Soriano’s leadoff single in the first, the lone hit Lincecum allowed was Koyie Hill’s homer to start the third.
Pedro Feliz tied the game with a solo shot in the fifth inning and scored the go-ahead run on a pinch-hit RBI single by Guillermo Rodriguez in the eighth, but the Cubs answered in the bottom half.
Rich Hill ended a five-start winless stretch that featured two losses since his last victory on June 7 at Atlanta. He hadn’t gone longer than 6 2-3 innings since then before Monday’s impressive eight-inning effort.
He allowed four hits and two runs, struck out three and walked two.
Chicago announced late in the game it had acquired veteran catcher Jason Kendall from the Oakland Athletics for catcher Rob Bowen and minor league pitcher Jerry Blevins. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Kendall told him he’d do his best to arrive in time for Tuesday night’s game with the Giants.
Bonds has been stuck at 751 home runs and four shy of tying Hank Aaron’s record for nearly two weeks – though he did have the All-Star break last week.
He is mired in one of the worst slumps of his 22-year career and might sit out again Tuesday night. The slugger, who turns 43 on July 24, erupted in frustration after going 0-for-5 on Sunday for the second straight day.
“It’s an embarrassmentaid.
Then he overturned a laundry cart as he walked through the clubhouse, a rare public display of emotion with his pursuit of the Hammer stalled.
No. 25 is 0-fer in his last 20 at-bats, hitless in six straight games and hasn’t homered in 23 at-bats, since July 3 at Cincinnati.
The Giants, coming off a discouraging weekend sweep at home by the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers, fell to a season-worst 14 games below .500. Many are expecting a firesale come the trading deadline later this month – that is if the Giants can find some takers for some of their aging veterans.
Notes: Bonds homered in each of his last two games against the Cubs, Sept. 2-3, 2006, at Wrigley. … Lincecum has allowed only four earned runs in his last 28 1-3 innings. … Rodriguez, a rookie who spent 12 years in the minors, is 4-for-5 with runners in scoring position since being called up June 8. … Feliz hit his 13th home run and first in 40 at-bats since a shot off Greg Maddux on June 27.