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NL: Clement points way for Cubs

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Published April 26, 2004

CHICAGO - Matt Clement often gets overlooked in the Cubs' dazzling rotation.

He doesn't have the blazing fastball of Mark Prior or Kerry Wood, or the pinpoint control of Greg Maddux. And Clement certainly doesn't display fiery emotions the way Carlos Zambrano does.

But make no mistake, Clement is every bit as nasty as his better-known teammates. He took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and struck out a career-high 13 Sunday, leading the Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the Mets.

"I don't pitch for appreciation," Clement said. "I'm out there pitching for myself, my family and my team. Getting appreciation will come if we win as a team."

And he and his teammates are doing their part, winning six straight. Starters have earned all six wins, and Chicago has outscored its opponents 39-5 during the streak.

Clement (3-1) gave up two hits in eight innings, including a homer to Karim Garcia with one out in the seventh that broke up the no-hit bid. Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer, and Michael Barrett and Corey Patterson each drove in a run to back Clement.

"I guess it's pretty hard to throw a no-hitter ... but that's not the important thing," Clement said. "We're trying to keep a winning streak here, not throw no-hitters. We're trying to build on something."

Manager Dusty Baker considered pulling Clement after he retired his first batter in the eighth inning. Clement has asthma, and Baker saw that he was wheezing. But Clement insisted he was fine.

Two batters later, he got his 13th strikeout, Kaz Matsui. Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his fourth save.

BRAVES 7, MARLINS 2: Mark DeRosa homered for the first earned run off Dontrelle Willis this season, and J.D. Drew's bases-loaded triple off Tommy Phelps broke a tie in the seventh inning for visiting Atlanta. Willis, who won his first three starts, departed after six innings with the score tied at 2. His ERA rose to 0.71, and he went 0-for-2 at the plate to drop his batting average to .545.

ROCKIES 4, ASTROS 1: Vinny Castilla set a franchise record with an RBI in his 10th straight game, Joe Kennedy pitched into the seventh inning to remain unbeaten and host Colorado avoided a three-game sweep. Kennedy (3-0) allowed a run and five hits, struck out four and walked two in 61/3 innings. Castilla had two hits and two RBIs. Todd Helton drove in a run in nine straight May 6-15, 2001. Mark Sweeney hit his first home run since June 13 for the Rockies, who have never been swept at home by the Astros.

PIRATES 6, REDS 0: Oliver Perez shrugged off a nearly three-hour rain delay to shut out visiting Cincinnati on six hits in his first complete game. Rookie Jose Castillo hit a two-run homer, and Rob Mackowiak and Humberto Cota had solo shots off starter Jose Acevedo (2-1) to help the Pirates end a four-game losing streak. Perez (2-0) struck out 10 and walked one while lowering his ERA to 1.74.

CARDINALS 5, BREWERS 2: Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds hit consecutive home runs in the first inning, and Jeff Suppan took a shutout into the eighth inning for visiting St. Louis. Reggie Sanders added his seventh homer for St. Louis, and Suppan (2-2) allowed just three hits in 72/3 innings. Ben Sheets (3-1) also went 72/3 innings, striking out seven.

DODGERS 9, GIANTS 0: Kazuhisa Ishii pitched a four-hitter for his first shutout, and Milton Bradley homered twice for host Los Angeles. Barry Bonds popped up to third and singled to right in his two times up. He left in the fifth inning with San Francisco trailing 7-0.

DIAMONDBACKS 12, PADRES 7: Richie Sexson homered twice and drove in three runs for host Arizona. Matt Kata drove in four runs with a pair of singles, and Luis Gonzalez and Danny Bautista had two-run doubles for the Diamondbacks.

EXPOS 2, PHILLIES 0: Zach Day and Rocky Biddle combined on host Montreal's second shutout, and Matt Cepicky hit a two-run double. Day (2-1) scattered nine hits through eight innings. Biddle finished with a perfect ninth for his fifth save as Montreal got its first win at Olympic Stadium.

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