Alfonso Soriano (STAFF PHOTO/PAM DAVIS)
While the Cubs have been waiting for first baseman Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez to get going, left fielder Alfonso Soriano has put together a nice run of late.
Soriano hit his fourth homer of the season in Saturday's comeback victory over Arizona and then added two more in Sunday's 10-5 victory, giving him six for the season. He has his batting average up to .325.
The one thing making a big difference is that Soriano is fully healthy. He injured his left knee last April by crashing into the wall, and it bothered him until September, when he finally had surgery.
"The most important thing is I don't have to think about my knee because my knee is good," he said. "Last year, before the swing, I just think about my knee. It took my concentration off the ball."
Soriano is never going to be a patient hitter, but he has not been swinging as wildly as he had in the past. He says he's still trying to be aggressive, but while swinging only at his pitches.
He's also been reunited with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, with whom he worked in Texas. Jaramillo has Soriano planting his front foot sooner to help him get a better look at the ball. That's also helping to keep Soriano from lunging at pitches.
CUBS 10, DIAMONDBACKS 5: The Cubs hit the Diamondbacks with a four-spot in the first inning, with two coming in on Soriano's homer. Soriano added another two-run homer in the fifth. Tom Gorzelanny worked seven innings for his first victory of the season. The Cubs pounded out 15 hits.
--Carlos Silva, who pitched Saturday, will get an extra day of rest this week because of a slight strain in his right wrist. Gorzelanny, who pitched and won Sunday, will jump ahead of Silva in the rotation. Silva strained the wrist swinging the bat last week in New York.
--Ryan Theriot extended his hitting streak to 12 games Sunday with a first-inning single. He went 3-for-5 and now is hitting .355. More important, he is the Cubs' leadoff hitter, and he has a .390 on-base percentage. When the Cubs won the NL Central in 2008, Theriot's OBP was .387. His career best hitting streak is 13, set in 2008.
--Esmailin Caridad threw an inning Saturday at extended spring training. He's at Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa for a rehab assignment this week and could rejoin the team over the weekend in Cincinnati. Caridad has been on the DL since mid-April with a strained right foream.
--Gorzelanny earned his first win of the season even though he has three quality starts. Gorzelanny's ERA is 2.48, and the Cubs finally got some runs for him. In the first four games Gorzelanny started, the Cubs averaged just 1.75 runs per game.
"The guys jumped on them early, and that's a good feeling for any pitcher," Gorzelanny said.
--Soriano has 10 RBI over his last three games, all Cubs victories. The last, and only, time Soriano did that was in 2005 while with Texas. He also has three straight multi-hit games, the first time he's done that since 2008.
BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- Lee had 11 hits in 17 at-bats with the bases loaded dating to early May of last year. Lee had a game-breaking bases-loaded single against the Diamondbacks on May 1, making him 2-for-3 in that situation this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Last year, he wasn't 100 percent. 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." -- Marlon Byrd marveling at the hot hitting by Soriano.