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Ramirez and Co. not about to look gift horse in the mouth
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago Cubs' Ryan Theriot, center, is mugged at home plate by catcher Koyie Hill, left, and teammates after scoring the game-winning run after Washington Nationals relief pitcher Brian Bruney walked Aramis Ramirez with the bases loaded during the 10th inning .


Associated Press

Washington Nationals catcher Wil Nieves, right, tags out Chicago Cubs' Geovany Soto at home off a throw from center fielder Willy Taveras after Taveras caught a sacrifice fly by Ryan Theriot during the second inning of a baseball game, Monday.


Associated Press

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Published: 4/26/2010 10:19 PM | Updated: 4/26/2010 11:23 PM

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Bruce Miles' game tracker

Cubs 4, Nationals 3 (10)

Yet another one: Carlos Silva became the first Cubs pitcher with quality starts in his first 4 starts with the team since Ted Lilly opened with 5 in 2007. Silva worked 7 innings, giving up 7 hits and 3 runs. The starters' ERA in quality-start games is 1.57.

Multi-taskers: Ryan Theriot had his sixth straight multihit game and extended his hitting streak to six games (16-for-30). Marlon Byrd extended his hitting streak to five games (13-for-23) with his fifth straight multihit game.

Geeky stat: Carlos Silva, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol pitched for the Cubs. It's the first time since June 6, 1966 that the Cubs used three pitchers with the same first name: Bill Hands, Bill Connors and Bill Hoeft.

Triple threat: Tyler Colvin picked up the first triple of his career in the fourth inning.

Aramis Ramirez has always been known as a "clutch" hitter, but hits have been hard to come by lately for the Cubs third baseman.

So he was more than happy to take a "clutch" walk Monday night and get the game-winning RBI in the Cubs' 4-3 victory in 10 innings over the Washington Nationals.

Ramirez walked on 4 pitches from Nats reliever Brian Bruney to drive in Ryan Theriot and give the Cubs their fourth straight victory.

"That's how you win games here early in April and the early part of the year," Ramirez said. "It's going to be tough to hit. It's going to be cold, and you have to play smart ball."

The Cubs were as patient as they were smart on this blustery, 48-degree night. Their hitters drew 8 walks, including 2 in the 10th inning.

"Patience," said manager Lou Piniella, whose team reached .500 at 10-10. "Patience there in the bottom of the 10th. Theriot starts it off with a basehit, and we don't get the runner over, but Derrek (Lee) and Ramirez showed a lot of patience up there, and we got a walk-off walk win."

There were any number of interesting sideshows.

Starting pitcher Carlos Silva turned in his fourth quality start in as many outings. He didn't get a decision, but he worked 7 strong innings.

Carlos Zambrano made his 2010 Wrigley Field relief debut and worked 12/3 scoreless innings. And yet another Carlos, Carlos Marmol, worked the 10th to get his first victory of the year.

Having done the job in 2 relief outings since being sent to the bullpen last week, Zambrano may learn to like his new role. At least he was feeling satisfied after Monday's win.

"Yeah," he said. "That's what they pay me for, to do the job. I'm excited to come in and do the job, and thank God I was good today."

The Cubs grabbed a 3-0 lead after three innings. Ramirez had an RBI double in the second, and Silva walked to force in a run later that inning. In the third, hot-hitting Marlon Byrd (3-for-5) singled home Jeff Baker, who opened with a triple.

The Nats scored twice in the fourth and once in the sixth, when Wil Nieves' grounder up the middle got by Silva for an RBI single. Silva appeared mad at himself for not fielding the ball.

"Oh, yeah," he said. "It was a 1-run lead, and I don't think I made the right pitch in the sixth, but you have to forget about that and keep pitching. It was good. I was available to finish that inning and go to the seventh. That's the only thing you can do. Give an opportunity for your team to win games."

In the home 10th, Theriot led off with his second hit of the game, a single to right. After Baker struck out, Lee walked and Byrd dunked a single to right, loading the bases and setting the stage for Ramirez.

"We have to keep it going," Byrd said. "We can't get excited just about four (in a row). We need to rattle off a couple more, get above .500 and keep going."