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Ramirez homers for second straight day

Ramirez homers for second straight day

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CUBS 3, GIANTS 2
at Scottsdale, Ariz.
Saturday, March 24

Cubs at the plate: Aramis Ramirez led off the second inning with his fifth home run and second in two days. Ryan Theriot tripled and scored in the sixth before Tomas Perez's RBI single accounted for the standup run in the eighth.

Giants at the plate: San Francisco didn't move a runner into scoring position until the sixth, when pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney doubled -- and then was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple. Sweeney added a two-run homer in the eighth.

Cubs on the mound: Wade Miller, competing for the No. 5 starter's spot, strengthened his case by allowing three singles in five innings. The right-hander also struck out Barry Bonds twice.

Giants on the mound: Working on three days' rest, one fewer than usual, to stay on schedule for his expected Opening Day start, Barry Zito limited himself to four innings and allowed only one hit besides Ramirez's homer. Armando Benitez pitched a perfect ninth after Brian Wilson yielded the eventual winning run in the eighth.

Cactus League records: Cubs 13-11; Giants 12-14.

Up next: The Cubs entertain the Los Angeles Angels, who have defeated them in their two previous meetings, at Mesa on Sunday. The Giants travel to Peoria for their lone exhibition against National League West rival San Diego. To keep their starting pitchers on schedule, the Giants are plugging non-roster right-hander Scott Atchison, who's competing for a bullpen spot, into the starting role. He'll oppose right-hander Jack Cassel.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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