NEW YORK -- Lou Piniella gathered his team together for a quick pep talk Wednesday, urging his players to relax and have fun.
It was Sweet Lou at just the right time for the Chicago Cubs.
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Carlos Silva added six crisp innings to his surprising comeback, Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer and the Cubs beat the New York Mets 9-3 to snap a four-game skid."It was a very important win for us," Soriano said.Silva (2-0) tweaked his right wrist during his first at-bat but still managed to post his third straight quality start, yielding one run and two hits. He has allowed two earned runs in 19 innings for a microscopic 0.95 ERA in his first year with Chicago after two rocky seasons in Seattle."We had a good meeting today, really nice word from Lou," Silva said. "I don't know. It seemed like a very different team today. Everybody was screaming, laughing. I think it was having fun a little bit today."Another record-low Citi Field crowd watched as the Mets' late rally against Chicago's floundering bullpen ran out of gas. This time the announced attendance was 25,684, lower than the second-year ballpark's previous mark of 25,982 set April 8 for a game against Florida.Soriano finished with three hits and three RBIs for the Cubs, who scored just six runs during their losing streak. Marlon Byrd also drove in three runs and Ryan Theriot collected three singles, including a run-scoring hit in Chicago's three-run seventh."A lot of guys had good games offensively," Piniella said.The Mets began the eighth with three consecutive hits off Sean Marshall, including slumping slugger David Wright's RBI single that got New York within three. But Justin Berg retired three straight to end the threat and Carlos Marmol got the final three outs.Concerned about a handful of slumping relievers, Piniella announced before the game that ace right-hander Carlos Zambrano was moving to the bullpen. Zambrano could make his first relief appearance since 2002 as soon as Friday.Rod Barajas hit his third homer for New York, which finished with six hits. Mets first baseman Ike Davis also turned in an outstanding catch in the first, tumbling over the dugout railing to grab Jeff Baker's popup."I dove out a little too far and I had to bring the ball back to me," Davis said. "I grabbed the post and sort of rolled over it. I landed on my feet."The Cubs acquired Silva and cash from the Mariners for Milton Bradley in a swap underperforming players in December. He won five games during two injury-plagued seasons with Seattle after signing a $48 million, four-year contract."I am a guy, it doesn't matter what everybody says about me," Silva said. "I never give up. Just keep working, keep working and everything happens for a reason. Right now, thank God everything is going well but a long way to go, long season."Oliver Perez (0-2) allowed three runs, two earned, and eight hits in five innings for New York. The erratic left-hander was coming off one of his best starts in two years, pitching into the seventh inning in a no-decision at St. Louis."Some days you don't have all your pitches," he said. "That's what was happening to me today. My fastball wasn't going where I wanted to so I had to throw a lot more changeups and breaking balls."Soriano tripled and scored on Geovany Soto's single in the fourth to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. The slugger, who is batting .464 (13 for 28) with five RBIs in his last nine games, added an RBI single in the fifth and his second homer of the season in the seventh.
Piniella said 3B Aramis Ramirez will rest on Thursday. Ramirez went 0 for 6 with two strikeouts to leave his average at .131. ... Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he's thinking about shaking up his lineup. ... New York placed reliever Ryota Igarashi on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring and recalled fellow RHP Manny Acosta from Triple-A Buffalo. Acosta allowed three runs and two hits in 1 1/3 innings against the Cubs. ... Cubs OF Xavier Nady received his 2009 World Series ring when New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman surprised him at Citi Field before the game. "It was pretty special," Nady said.