Pie's HR, Soriano's throws boost Cubs

Chicago CubsRyan DempsterScott RolenWrigley FieldLou PiniellaAdam KennedyFelix Pie

When Felix Pie was called up to the Cubs on April 17, Alfonso Soriano invited him to stay at his new home in Chicago.

But unlike Oscar and Felix from the "The Odd Couple," Alfonso and Felix have a lot in common, and neither one is a particularly messy guy.

"Nah, we're lucky," Soriano said. "We just sit around laughing. It's great having Felix with me. He's like my brother."

Chicago's newest odd couple helped lead the Cubs to a 5-3 triumph Friday night over St. Louis at Busch Stadium and give Jason Marquis his second victory against his former teammates in a week.

The Cubs wound up with their first back-to-back victories since April 6-7 in Milwaukee, playing relaxed and loose after leaving Wrigley Field.

Manager Lou Piniella insisted they weren't better off playing on the road, despite their poor record at home.

"I don't think so," Piniella said. "We've lost just some tough one-run games there. We're going to get better at home. Give me my choice of playing at home or on the road, and I'll take home every time."

Friday's game was a typical Cubs-Cardinals affair that featured a little bit of everything.

Soriano threw out one runner at the plate and another at second in his third game back in left field since moving from center.

Pie cranked his first major-league home run.

Ryan Dempster bailed the Cubs out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and posted his fourth save.

And Cesar Izturis came off the bench and contributed a two-out RBI single in the ninth, giving the Cubs an insurance run.

The fun began with two men on and two outs in the Cardinals' half of the second.

Yadier Molina singled past the glove of a diving Ryan Theriot at shortstop and third base coach Jose Oquendo waved home Jim Edmonds from second.

Soriano made a barehanded pickup and fired the ball home, where catcher Michael Barrett made the tag after Edmonds slid around it.

The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the third on Scott Rolen's RBI single off the left-field wall.

Soriano played the carom perfectly, then wheeled and threw to second baseman Mark DeRosa, who easily tagged out Rolen.

Derrek Lee's double and Aramis Ramirez's two-run homer in the fourth put the Cubs on top and DeRosa's double and Pie's homer made it 4-1.

Marquis (3-1) was removed after Molina's two-run shot with two outs in the seventh.

After Michael Wuertz bailed Will Ohman out of the seventh-inning jam, Chris Duncan and Albert Pujols singled to open the eighth.

After Wuertz induced Rolen to pop out, lNeal Cotts replaced him and plunked pinch-hitter So Taguchi to load the bases.

Ryan Dempster then struck out Preston Wilson for the second out and got Adam Kennedy to ground into a force to Izturis to end the inning.

Izturis' run-scoring single off Randy Flores in the ninth gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead, but Dempster got into trouble in the ninth, giving up a leadoff single to Molina.

Pinch-hitter Scott Spiezio hit a shot to right that looked like a game-tying homer before it drifted foul. Dempster regrouped, getting Spiezio to take a called third strike.

After David Eckstein forced Molina at second for the second out, Duncan flied out to left to end the suspense.

psullivan@tribune.com

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