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Phils rout Cubs; Cardinals fall

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Associated Press
July 21, 2009
— Rodrigo Lopez knows he might get dumped from Philadelphia’s starting rotation for a healthy Pedro Martinez.

He just wants to make next month’s decision a tough one for the Phillies.


Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer, Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard each went deep to back Lopez, and the sizzling Phillies won their ninth straight game, 10-1 over the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.


With Jack Nicholson watching from a front-row seat, Philadelphia’s A-list lineup was about as good as it gets. The Phillies rocked Ted Lilly (9-7) in his shortest outing of the season for the Cubs, and they won for the 13th time in their last 14 games.


Up ahead, a shot at their first 10-game winning streak since 1991.


“You go out with a good feeling, and right now, things have kind of been going well for us,” Howard said. “You just try to continue the feeling that you have.”


The Phillies scored five in the first two innings to stake Lopez (2-0) to early lead and he never let the Cubs rally. Lopez, who left his last start with right shoulder inflammation, allowed one run over six innings.


His solid effort helped his cause to stay in the rotation once Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner, is deemed healthy enough to join the Phillies. Martinez signed a free-agent deal last week and was medically cleared to pitch a simulated game on Tuesday. He might take Lopez’s turn in the rotation in August.


Ryan Theriot had an RBI single in the fifth for the Cubs, who snapped a four-game winning streak.


n Astros 3, Cardinals 2—Houston’s Carlos Lee admits to feeling more focused when batting with runners on base.


St. Louis right-hander Kyle Lohse is starting to feel as if Lee simply has his number.


Lee’s three-run homer lifted the host Astros past the Cardinals on Monday night.


“Carlos Lee, whatever it is, he feels comfortable against me,” Lohse said.


The home run was the fifth of Lee’s career against Lohse, the most of any player.


Lee has a career .352 average against Lohse, who made his second start since coming off the disabled list.


Houston was trailing 2-0 when Lee followed Miguel Tejada’s single and a walk by Lance Berkman with a shot to deep left field in the fourth inning.


“I concentrate a lot more (with men on),” Lee said. “Sometimes I kind of get away from my game with nobody on ... but with people on base, I can’t explain it, but everything kind of gets in a tunnel and I concentrate and be real patient about it and try to get a good pitch to hit.”


It was the first game of a three-game series between NL Central foes and key set for a Houston team looking to gain ground on the division-leading Cardinals.


“When we get a victory over the first-place team in our division it feels good,” Tejada said. “We all have confidence ... and we know we can get it.”


Brian Moehler (7-5) allowed six hits and two runs with five strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings to improve his perfect career record against the Cardinals to 5-0.


LaTroy Hawkins gave up two hits in the eighth before closer Jose Valverde pitched a scoreless ninth for his 10th save.


Yadier Molina singled in a pair of runs in the fourth to put St. Louis ahead 2-0.



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