Cubs' bats stay hot as Volstad bests Bumgarner

Cubs' bats stay hot as Volstad bests Bumgarner

Cubs' bats stay hot as Volstad bests Bumgarner
CHICAGO -- The Cubs have a goal for the final month: keep their season-loss total under 100 games.

Chicago wrapped up a tough month with a 6-4 victory over the Giants on Friday, as Alfonso Soriano drove in three runs -- including two on his 24th home run -- and Anthony Rizzo added a solo home run, his 10th. With the win, the Cubs finished August at 8-21. It's time to turn the calendar.

"The last month, we want to win," Rizzo said. "We want to play .500 baseball in September, and everyone in here wants to finish strong. It's a cliche, but we want to build as much momentum in September going into Spring Training and moving forward."

At 51-80, the Cubs are hoping to avoid being the first team to lose 100 games since the 1966 club finished 59-103.

"I know [losing 100 games] is something I don't want to be a part of," Rizzo said. "I think our magic number is down to 12 wins now. We're not going to lose 100 games. It's something we're all motivated enough to do."

Soriano looked motivated. The Giants considered him in their pursuit of another bat, but they knew he wasn't keen on the idea because of the San Francisco weather. He has cleared waivers. Teams had until 10:59 p.m. CT Friday to trade for players to be eligible on the postseason rosters.

"It's very hard to play on the West Coast, especially on that field," Soriano said. "It's nothing against the team -- they have a very good team. It's more the city, because of the weather. They have a very good team that's in first place. I know if I go to San Francisco, I won't feel comfortable in the city. I'd feel comfortable on the team, but not in the city."

It's nothing personal, but the cold weather bothers Soriano's left knee, not just his bat.

It was hot at Wrigley on Friday. Soriano hit a two-out RBI single in the first off Madison Bumgarner (14-9). Rizzo singled with two outs in the third to set up Soriano's home run, as he launched an 0-2 cutter out to left.

"He's hurt us over the years," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Soriano. "If you make a mistake, there's a good chance you're going to pay for it."

As for being dealt this offseason, Soriano said he'll wait and see.

"I like it here," Soriano said. "I don't like to lose, especially late in my career. I just want to go someplace to win. If it's here, I'd be happy. We'll see what happens."

Starlin Castro followed Soriano's home run with a single, and then it got crazy. Welington Castillo doubled off the left-field wall to score Castro. Catcher Buster Posey couldn't hang on to the relay throw, and Castillo kept running, scoring on the error to give the Cubs a 5-0 lead.

Posey redeemed himself with an RBI double with two outs in the fourth against Chris Volstad (2-9). Posey also hit a RBI single in the eighth.

Volstad lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits en route to his second straight win after a 24-start winless streak. The hot weather got to him, but he was motivated.

"I love those type of games and pitching against those type of teams," Volstad said about facing a contending team.

Volstad has forgotten the streak, and he also isn't thinking about next season, either.

"Winning two in a row, or losing 24 in a row, I'm still going to pitch in the rotation the next five days and I have to get ready for that, just like I would any other time," he said.

Rizzo made it a 6-1 game with a leadoff home run in the fifth, although umpires had to check the replay to see that the ball hit the top of the padding that rims the front of the bleachers. It was the rookie's first long ball since Aug. 5.

"At first I thought I got it, but I saw the umpire signal safe when I was halfway to second, so I showed off the speed to get the triple," Rizzo said. "I was hoping it really went out when they reviewed it."

Carlos Marmol picked up his 17th save, and now has converted his last 16 save opportunities, dating to May 2. The at-bat of the game may have come in the Giants' eighth, when Shawn Camp struck out Pablo Sandoval. The Giants did score twice, but the damage could have been worse.

"[Camp] made a great pitch on Pablo that could have changed that inning," Bochy said.

The Cubs were swept in three series in California by the Giants, Dodgers and Padres, and also lost in Arizona. But they're now 11-2 against National League West teams at Wrigley Field. Maybe it's jet lag.

"We're battling right now just to win games and whoever they're against," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "I do know as a manager it's very important to try to put your best team on the field to help other teams out who are in second place or tied. It's important for these guys to understand, too, it is important to beat the best teams in the league."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.