CHICAGO (AP) -Tom Gorzelanny had pitched far too well to be 0-3. Thanks to Alfonso Soriano & Co., the left-hander is winless no more.
After the Cubs totaled only seven runs in Gorzelanny's first four starts, they put up double digits Sunday with Soriano hitting a pair of two-run homers in Chicago's 10-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
``The guys jumped on them early, and that's a good feeling for any pitcher,' said Gorzelanny, who allowed two runs and had a career-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings. Despite the dazzling performance, his ERA actually rose to 2.48.
``Sori looks really good up there,' Gorzelanny said. ``It's fun to watch him and know that each time, he's got a chance to crush the ball.'
Soriano certainly crushed Arizona pitching - four homers, 10 RBIs for the series - as the Cubs won the last three games after dropping the opener.
``He's hot as can be,' Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. ``He hit everything: fastballs away, breaking balls out, fastballs in. It seemed every time they had multiple runners on, he was coming to the plate. And he delivered.'
Soriano, who hit the go-ahead homer in the sixth inning Friday and the tying shot in the seventh Saturday, is batting .390 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 18 games since April 12.
After his second homer Sunday, he hugged first-year Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, whose work with Soriano in Texas five years ago helped make the player rich.
Signed to a $136 million contract before the 2007 season, Soriano has had a love-hate relationship with Chicago fans. They go wild when he's in one of his hot streaks but boo him when he slumps even a little bit.
They were really on his case last year, when knee injuries limited him to 20 homers and 55 RBIs in 117 games, and they were merciless when he struggled early this season.
Soriano says he doesn't mind, but his teammates think fans are too rough on him.
``Last year, he wasn't 100 percent,' said Marlon Byrd, who also hit a two-run homer. ``Now you're seeing the real Soriano. That's why he got the big deal. It's going to be interesting to see where his numbers are Oct. 2, because I think they're going to be big.'
The Cubs put up big numbers in the last three games, scoring 28 times.
Meanwhile, the only runs Sunday against Gorzelanny (1-3) came on Rusty Ryal's fourth-inning homer.
The Diamondbacks scored three ninth-inning runs off John Grabow but struck out 12 times in the game and 49 times in the series. Chicago pitchers lead the majors in strikeouts, as do Arizona batters.
The way Edwin Jackson pitched - again - the D-Backs didn't have much chance, anyway.
Five days after allowing 10 runs in 2 1-3 innings at Colorado, Jackson (1-3) gave up eight runs in four innings.
``In one way, it's worrisome because it's two starts,' Hinch said. ``At the same time, it's only two starts.'
Acquired from Detroit in the three-team trade that resulted in Curtis Granderson going from the Tigers to the Yankees, Jackson has an 8.07 ERA. Since pitching a perfect inning in last year's All-Star Game, he is 7-8 with a 5.85 ERA.
``It's hard to throw the ball down the middle and get major league hitters out,' he said.
Especially when those hitters are hot. Soriano, who had Chicago's first multiple-homer game this season, also doubled to set up a third-inning run. Chad Tracy, playing third base for slumping Aramis Ramirez, and Ryan Theriot had three-hit days, too. Theriot is batting .482 during a 12-game hitting streak.
After taking Monday off, the Cubs (13-13) will travel to Pittsburgh as they try to get over .500 for the first time this season.
NOTES: Ramirez, batting .155 with 25 strikeouts in 97 at_bats, had a .300 average in his first seven years with the team. ... Cubs manager Lou Piniella has had trouble finding playing time for OF Xavier Nady, who was signed to a $3.3 million contract during the offseason to rotate with Soriano, Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome. Those three are hitting well, as is rookie Tyler Colvin. Piniella said Nady will play right field Tuesday. ... The Diamondbacks plan to call up RHP Cesar Valdez from Triple-A Reno to start Monday night at Houston. Valdez will take the rotation spot of Kris Benson, who is on the DL with a strained right shoulder. ``We'll give him the opportunity to stick,' said Hinch, whose team has a 5.90 ERA.
The Associated Press News Service
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