CHICAGO (AP) — Ted Lilly won his fourth straight start, Aramis Ramirez had four RBIs and Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run homer Saturday as the surging Chicago Cubs roughed up Roy Oswalt in a 9-3 victory over the Houston Astros.
Lilly (9-4), who hasn’t lost since June 5, gave up four hits and a run over eight innings to help Chicago win for the 14th time in 18 games. The left-hander walked one, struck out seven and added a run-scoring single in the sixth for his third major league RBI.
Soriano followed with his homer to left, his team-leading 16th of the season, to finish Oswalt (8-6). The right-hander, who was on the NL All-Star team, gave up 10 hits and a season-high nine runs in 5 1-3 innings.
Soriano’s long homer with the wind blowing out at 15 mph was the first for the Cubs in 11 games dating to June 29. Ramirez had a two-run double in the fourth and a two-run single in the fifth.
After Oswalt retired his first 10 batters, Cesar Izturis singled in the fourth but held at third when Derrek Lee doubled to right. Ramirez followed with a drive to right-center that got stuck in the ivy for a ground-rule double, putting the Cubs ahead 2-1.
One out later, Houston’s defense made another error — the Astros had four on Friday — when catcher Brad Ausmus picked up Mark DeRosa’s roller to the left of the plate and threw it past first, allowing Ramirez to score.
Oswalt got the first two hitters in the fifth but gave up a single to Soriano before walking Izturis and Lee to load the bases. Ramirez delivered a single to left for a 5-1 lead.
Houston scored early when leadoff hitter Chris Burke blooped a ball to right that Cubs right fielder Cliff Floyd dove for and missed, hurting his left shoulder. The ball got behind Floyd and went for a triple. Hunter Pence’s RBI grounder made it 1-0.
Floyd had to leave the game with a shoulder strain after one inning. The Cubs switched DeRosa to right and brought in Mike Fontenot to play second base.