CHICAGO—The Chicago Cubs cut the St. Louis Cardinals' lead in the National League Central to two games after they beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2, behind the arm of rookie pitcher Randy Wells and the bat of Derrek Lee.
Wells (4-3) has won four straight starts after going 0-3 in his first six outings with the Cubs.
The 26-year-old rookie has really lacked run support from the Chicago offense, but lately, it's been just enough. He went six strong innings, struck out four batters, allowed two runs, and did not allow any walks.
Wells has allowed three runs or more in only two of his starts, and while he does not have overpowering play, he is able to jam hitters and keep the ball on the ground.
His performance on the mound may be overshadowed by the continuing dominance of first baseman Derrek Lee, who was snubbed of an All-Star appearance.
Lee hit his 17th home run of the season in the first inning off of Jair Jurrjens (6-7) to give Chicago a 2-0 lead, and the Cubs never trailed after that.
Kosuke Fukudome continued to perform well while hitting in the leadoff spot, going 2-3 with a double, a walk, and an RBI.
Alfonso Soriano had a double, but it was his lone hit of the game.
The return of Aramis Ramirez was nothing short of epic, but the All-Star third baseman failed to deliver from the plate, going 0-4 on the night.
Ramirez is sure to give the Cubs a boost offensively, and the Cubs are willing to wait for that boost. With him in the lineup, teams are forced to pitch to the likes of Milton Bradley and Alfonso Soriano, who could explode at any time.
The Cubs will send Ryan Dempster (5-5) to the mound on Tuesday night against Javier Vasquez (5-7).