CHICAGO The Friendly Confines have never seemed friendlier, and that's a big reason why the Cubs are the best team in baseball entering June for the first time in 100 years.
Alfonso Soriano homered, Jim Edmonds drove in two runs, and the Chicago Cubs beat the reeling Colorado Rockies 5-3 on Sunday to complete a perfect seven-game homestand.
The Cubs entered June with the best record in baseball for the first time since 1908, when they last won a World Series. They started the new month by finishing a four-game sweep of the defending National League champions and sending them to their seventh straight loss.
Chicago is 26-8 at Wrigley Field after wrapping up its first perfect homestand of at least seven games since April 14-26, 1970. Now, they'll try to establish some momentum away from home.
The road has been far less friendly, and one concern is that they've played 11 more games at home than they have on the road.
"At the end of the day, you should play better at home," second baseman Mark DeRosa said. "I just think the splits and the numbers get skewed. We've only been on the road two or three times. You run into one bad road trip, it looks worse than it is."
The Cubs play 23 of their next 32 games on the road, where they're 10-13 heading into a seven-game trip to San Diego and Los Angeles.
"We'll get a pretty good gauge of where we're at," Piniella said.
Meanwhile, the injury-plagued Rockies are on their worst slide since they dropped eight in a row over that same span, and they're showing no signs of a turnaround. They're 20-37 after their 16th loss in 21 games and are 17 games below .500 for the first time since they finished the 2005 season at 67-95.
"We're playing hard," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We continue to get dinged now and then with some execution issues and that elusive big hit is still out there."
Chicago rookie Sean Gallagher (3-1) dominated the Rockies at times, allowing three runs and six hits while striking out a career-high eight batters in 5 2/3 innings. He did not allow a walk but hit two while winning his second straight start, and left with a 4-2 lead following a double by Omar Quintanilla in the sixth.
Michael Wuertz came on and promptly gave up an RBI double to Yorvit Torrealba and walked Ryan Spilborghs before Scott Eyre caught Willy Taveras looking at a 3-2 fastball. Bob Howry pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for Chicago before Kerry Wood worked the ninth for his 14th save in 18 chances.
Edmonds appears to be in a good place at the moment. He homered and had three hits on Friday and followed that with another big day at the plate on Sunday.
He tripled off the center-field wall in the second, drove an RBI double off the ivy in left in the fourth and walked with the bases loaded in the fifth to make it 4-2. Soriano made it 5-3 with a solo shot in the sixth his 13th homer of the season and his second in as many games.
Aramis Ramirez added two singles, a double and an RBI as the Cubs (36-21) matched their longest win streak since they won seven straight from June 22-29.
METS 6, DODGERS 1: At New York, Johan Santana pitched into the eighth inning to earn his 100th career win, Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church each hit a two-run homer and the suddenly surging Mets beat Los Angeles.
Back in the lineup after his second concussion this year, Church capped a five-run third with his shot to right off Hiroki Kuroda (2-5). He finished with a double and three hits for the Mets (28-27) took three of four from the Dodgers in manager Joe Torre's return to New York to win consecutive series for the first time since mid-April.
Matt Kemp had three hits and drove in the only run for Los Angeles, which heads home after winning just once on a seven-game trip.
New York has won five of six following manager Willie Randolph's much-publicized meeting with ownership last Monday. Santana (7-3) gave up six hits in 7 2/3 innings to win for the sixth time in seven decisions.
PHILLIES 7, MARLINS 5: At Philadelphia, Chase Utley hit his major league-leading 20th homer, had a tiebreaking, two-run double and the Phillies rallied to get the win.
Utley went deep for the fourth straight game and Geoff Jenkins connected for the second pinch-hit homer of his career to help Philadelphia win the weekend series and move back into first in the NL East.
Mike Jacobs hit a solo homer in the second and a three-run drive in the third to help the Marlins build a 5-1 lead. Jacobs improved to 5-for-8 with three homers in his career against 45-year-old Philadelphia left-hander Jamie Moyer (6-3).
Jenkins' two-run drive off Doug Waechter (0-1) tied it at 5 in the sixth. Burrell gave the Phillies the lead with his double down the left-field line in the seventh.
REDS 6, BRAVES 2: At Cincinnati, Ken Griffey Jr. remained one homer shy of 600, but Jay Bruce had a solo shot and a run-scoring single to lead the Reds to the victory. Rookie right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-5) returned to his first-game form, allowing only a bunt single through the first six innings before Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann homered off him in the seventh. Atlanta dropped to 7-21 on the road and was swept in Cincinnati for the first time since September 1996.
Griffey singled, doubled and flied out against starter Tim Hudson (7-4), who left after straining his left hamstring in the seventh. The crowd of 35,942 booed when Blaine Boyer intentionally walked Griffey later in the inning.
Bruce, the Reds' top prospect, went 13-for-22 with six walks, two homers, two steals and six RBIs in his first six games.
DIAMONDBACKS 5, NATIONALS 0: At Phoenix, Dan Haren tossed seven sharp innings and Orlando Hudson hit a three-run homer for Arizona.
Hudson's homer, his second in three days and sixth of the season, came in the first inning and gave Haren (6-4) all the support he would need against the NL's weakest-hitting club. Haren (6-4) gave up four hits, walked three and struck out five.
The Diamondbacks have posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since May 26-27, 2006, at Cincinnati. Brandon Webb beat the Nationals 4-0 on Saturday.
Chad Tracy added a solo homer for the Diamondbacks, who salvaged the final two games of a six-game homestand.
Shawn Hill (0-2) went four innings for the Nationals, allowing five runs and seven hits.
BREWERS 10, ASTROS 1: At Milwaukee, Ryan Braun and Russell Branyan hit two-run homers and the Brewers finished off a sweep of the weekend series. Gabe Kapler and Craig Counsell each went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Brewers who have won six of seven and earned their first sweep since they took three from San Francisco on April 4-6.
Mark Loretta homered for the Astros, who have lost a season-worst five straight.
Milwaukee scored four in the first against Shawn Chacon (2-1) and six in the fourth. Chacon lasted just one inning, allowing just two hits but issuing two walks and hitting two batters with pitches.
Dave Bush (2-5) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings for the Brewers.
CARDINALS 7, PIRATES 4: At St. Louis, Braden Looper continued his torrid hitting to help earn himself a win. Looper had two singles, scored twice, and drove in a run to raise his batting average to .429 tops among pitchers in the majors. On the mound, Looper (7-4) allowed eight hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Ryan Franklin, the fifth Cardinals pitcher, got three outs for his sixth save in eight attempts.
Skip Schumaker drove in a career-high three runs to help the Cardinals.
Ian Snell (2-5) lost his fifth consecutive decision and is 0-5 in his last nine starts. His last win came on April 12. He allowed six runs and eight hits in four-plus innings.
Looper got some defensive help from center fielder Rick Ankiel, who made a terrific catch at the warning track on a flyball hit by Xavier Nady in the second.
GIANTS 4, PADRES 3 (10 INNINGS): At San Francisco, pinch-hitter Fred Lewis hit a two-run, game-tying triple off Padres closer Trevor Hoffman in the 10th inning and scored the winning run on Jose Castillo's infield single.
San Diego had taken a 3-1 lead when Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the top half of the inning against Alex Hinshaw (1-0) and appeared on its way to its season-high fourth straight win.
But Hoffman was unable to hold the lead, blowing his third save of the season and first since April 23.
Giants starter Tim Lincecum allowed one run and four hits in seven-plus innings, lowering his ERA to 2.23, second best in the NL.
RED SOX 9, ORIOLES 4: At Baltimore, Manny Ramirez hit his 501st career home run, Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew also connected, and Boston beat the Orioles.
After becoming the 24th major leaguer to hit No. 500, Ramirez said Saturday night, "The next goal is 501." He took care of that in his third at-bat, driving a pitch from Brian Burres (4-5) into the right-field seats to put Boston up 6-3 in the fourth inning.
Lowell homered two pitches later, and the Red Sox were on their way to making it three straight wins over the skidding Orioles. On Today, Boston will seek its first four-game sweep in Baltimore since 2002.
Serving as the designated hitter for injured David Ortiz (sprained wrist), Ramirez went 3-for-5, drove in three runs and scored twice. Drew, who missed two straight starts because of vertigo, had three RBIs. Jason Ellsbury had three hits and a stolen base, his seventh in the series.
Ortiz is expected to have an MRI exam Monday in Boston.
Red Sox starter Bartolo Colon (3-0) allowed four runs in six-plus innings to win his third straight start.
Luke Scott homered for the Orioles, who have lost four straight and nine of 11.
RAYS 4, WHITE SOX 3 (10 INNINGS): At St. Petersburg, Fla., Gabe Gross hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning, giving AL East-leading Tampa Bay a comeback victory over Chicago.
Gross, making a rare start against left-handed pitching, lined a two-run triple off Mark Buehrle to make it 3-all in the fifth. Gross then delivered his third homer of the season on an 0-2 pitch from lefty Matt Thornton (1-1) in the 10th.
The surprising Rays maintained their one-game division lead over Boston, and they take their league-best record of 35-22 to Fenway Park for the start of a three-game series Tuesday night. Tampa Bay is 13 games over .500 for the first time in the team's 11-season history.
The finale of the four-game set against the AL Central-leading White Sox drew a crowd of 24,720.
J.P. Howell (4-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory, which enabled Tampa Bay to go 8-2 on the team's longest homestand of the year. The Rays have won 10 of their last 12 series, including seven straight at home since losing two of three to the White Sox six weeks ago.
TWINS 5, YANKEES 1: At Minneapolis, Michael Cuddyer drove in three runs and Minnesota's bullpen came through with 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief after starter Nick Blackburn was hit in the nose by Bobby Abreu's line drive.
Blackburn walked off the field under his own power, escorted by a trainer with a bloody towel pressed against his face. The Twins said Blackburn did not lose consciousness or any teeth. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day with a bruised nose.
Brian Bass (2-1), Jesse Crain and Joe Nathan shut down the Yankees the rest of the way. The Twins snapped New York's three-game winning streak and handed the Yankees their third loss in 11 games.
Derek Jeter homered for New York (28-28). Darrell Rasner (3-2) allowed four runs over 5 1-3 innings.
ROYALS 6, INDIANS 1: At Kansas City, Mo., Brian Bannister pitched into the eighth inning and Mark Grudzielanek and homered to help Kansas City beat Cleveland, a day after the Royals snapped a 12-game losing streak. Bannister (5-6) was working on a shutout when Grady Sizemore homered with one out in the eighth. It was Sizemore's third home run in three days.
Guillen, who went into a tirade and called his teammates "babies" after they squandered a five-run lead and lost their 10th straight on Wednesday night, was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Grudzielanek hit a two-run drive off Paul Byrd (2-5) to give the punchless Royals a 6-0 lead in the fifth. It was his first homer in 172 at-bats dating to Sept. 24. Alex Gordon also had a two-run double for Kansas City.
Byrd dropped to 0-5 in six road starts. The Indians, the defending AL Central champs, have lost five straight series.
ANGELS 4, BLUE JAYS 3: At Anaheim, Calif., Toronto closer B.J. Ryan (1-1) hit Howie Kendrick with a pitch to force home the tying run in the ninth inning, and Maicer Izturis singled in the game-winner one pitch later for Los Angeles. All four of the Angels' victories on this six-game homestand were walk-off wins.
Ryan's first blown save in 13 attempts this season spoiled a masterful performance by A.J. Burnett, who allowed two runs and three hits over eight innings but was pulled by manager John Gibbons after 102 pitches.
Sean Rodriguez hit his first major league homer for the Angels, a two-run shot off Burnett.
Jose Arredondo (2-0) got credit for the victory after three innings of scoreless relief by Darren Oliver.
ATHLETICS 13, RANGERS 8: At Arlington, Texas, Jack Cust and Mark Ellis homered in a nine-run seventh inning as Oakland rallied past Texas to end a four-game losing streak. Josh Hamilton hit his AL-best 15th homer and drove in two runs, giving him a major league-high 63 RBIs. Milton Bradley also homered and drove in three runs for the Rangers, who led 7-4 after six innings. But the first eight Athletics hitters reached base in the seventh before Texas' bullpen could register an out.
Cust's two-run shot, Jack Hannahan's two-run double, Bobby Crosby's two-run single and Ellis' solo shot highlighted the A's biggest inning of the season. Jamey Wright (3-2) was charged with four runs in the loss.
Travis Buck also homered for the A's, who scored only nine runs in their previous five games. Chad Gaudin (4-3) worked a scoreless sixth for the win.
TIGERS 7, MARINERS 5: At Seattle, Placido Polanco hit a tiebreaking single and Detroit scored four times in the ninth inning off struggling J.J. Putz (2-3) to beat Seattle. Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera each drove in two runs as the Tigers won for the fifth time in six meetings with the Mariners.
Putz's poor outing ended a scoreless streak of 18 2-3 innings by Seattle's bullpen. Raul Ibanez homered and drove in three runs for the Mariners. Adrian Beltre also connected.
Seattle wasted a prime chance to break a 3-all tie in the eighth when it had Jeremy Reed on third with one out against winner Zach Miner (2-3).