Soriano Lifts Cubs and Mets struggle again at the plate

New York – Alfonzo Soriano had no problems hitting home runs during his stint in New York as a Yankee. And he certainly likes hitting the long ball against Mets pitching. He was the story Wednesday evening at Citi Field, going 3-for-4 including his second home run of the young season which contributed to the Cubs 9-3 over the New York Mets.

“More important to get the win tonight,” commented Soriano who helped the Cubs snap a four game losing streak and assured the Mets from winning their first series of the season,  Soriano got the Cubs lone extra base hit, a double the night before.

Soriano is hitting .464 with three walks, four runs, five doubles, a triple, home run and five runs batted in in his last nine games. He drove in three runs and also had a walk and a triple. “The offense came out tonight I hope tomorrow it will do the same,” he said as the Cubs got 14 hits off Mets pitching,

Olive Perez (0-2) got the loss in his third start of the season for New York.  He went five innings allowing three runs, two of them earned on eight hits. But once again the middle part of the Mets lineup continued to struggle. Jeff Francoeur went 0-for-4, now hitless in his last 22 at bats. Jason Bay did get a hit and reached base on a walk.  And David Wright did drive in a run but struck out with men on base.

In total the Mets left 12 more runners on base which added to their league high. “Think once they get a few hits, any type of hits, they get it going,” said Mets manager Jerry Manuel who may sit down Bay, Francoeur, or even Wright in the next day or so.

As Manuel explained, regarding the middle part of his lineup,” I don’t see lethargic legs…every now and then a break is good.” That may also mean the plan to drop Jose Reyes to third in the order and putting Angel Pagan in the leadoff spot. Reyes in that hole may produce some offense against the right handed pitching the Mets will see in upcoming home games with the Braves and Dodgers.

Manuel did say he has three different lineups on his desk Wright would like to see his bat going. “It’s our turn to return the favor when they are struggling, a bit,” said Wright.  He was referring to Rod Barajas, Reyes and Luis Castillo who each drove in a run. Barajas hit his third home run of the season in the second inning to left field off Cubs starter Carlos Silva (2-0) who went six innings, giving up two hits and striking out four. Silva has given up two earned runs in his last 19 innings.

The Cubs needed the win, just as more as the Mets needed to start a winning streak. Perez did his best working out of trouble but admitted he did not have his best pitch going for him, “My fastball wasn’t going where I wanted it to so I had so I had to throw a lot more changeups and breaking balls,” he said.

So after getting a quality start from Mike Pelfrey the night before, the Mets will try and take the final game of this four game series Thursday evening when their ace Johan Santana gets the ball.  The other aspect that has hindered the pitching staff is giving up the walk, nine more, a stat that also leads the league.

Manuel may mix and match more out of the pen, where most of the walks are coming from. It was not Perez losing control this time.  But the offense is a concern also, and Manuel may be forced to make a lineup change.

“I will sleep on that one,” he said.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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