CHICAGO – Jose Guillen homered, Tony Armas won a road start for the first time in more than two years and the Washington Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 Saturday for their fifth straight victory.

Armas (4-4) hadn’t won a road start since April 10, 2003 – at Wrigley Field – and had been 0-6 in 10 starts since. He went five-plus innings Saturday, allowing seven hits and two runs.

Chad Cordero pitched a perfect for his major league-leading 29th save. He’s converted 26 straight save opportunities.

Batting .381 entering the game, Chicago’s Derrek Lee continued his remarkable first half with three more hits, including his 25th homer, a triple and a single.

Needing a double to hit for the cycle, Lee flied to center in the eighth inning.

Guillen hit his 17th homer in the first off Jerome Williams (1-3), a high fly ball that just carried over the left field fence with the wind blowing in at 10 mph.

Guillen also started a two-run fourth with a leadoff single, moved to second as Vinny Castilla walked, to third on a sacrifice and scored on Wil Cordero’s sacrifice fly. Gary Bennett then delivered a two-out RBI single to put Washington up 3-0.

Lee’s triple and an RBI grounder by Aramis Ramirez got the Cubs a run in the fourth.

But the Nationals responded in the top of the fifth when Brad Wilkerson hit a drive to the left center field wall that Todd Hollandsworth nearly caught before losing possession as he came down through the ivy. It went for a triple and Junior Spivey followed with a sacrifice fly.

Lee homered to start the sixth and cut the lead to 4-2. After Armas walked Jeromy Burnitz, he was replaced by Gary Majewski. Ramirez then hit a liner toward right that first baseman Cordero snagged, easily catching Burnitz off the bag for a double play.

It turned out to be a huge play because Todd Walker followed with a single and Hollandsworth drew a walk before Michael Barrett flied out.

Williams lasted seven innings, giving up five hits and four runs.

Notes: The announced crowd of 40,488 on a 67-degree day was the largest of the season at Wrigley Field. … Armas’ 2003 season was cut short by shoulder surgery. He did not pitch after April 20 that season. … Nationals 1B Nick Johnson missed his fifth straight game with a bruised right heel. SS Cristian Guzman was also out of the lineup with a sore left hamstring, an injury he suffered Thursday. … Ramirez returned to the Cubs’ starting lineup. He’d been forced out of Thursday’s game after being hit on the left shin with a pitch and had pinch-hit on Friday. … The Cubs have dropped three straight.

AP-ES-07-02-05 1849EDT


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