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Cubs crush Pirates with 21 hits

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PITTSBURGH (AP)

The Chicago Cubs haven't had much to celebrate during what has been a miserable season.

They sure had a lot of fun Tuesday night.

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Alfonso Soriano hit two of the Cubs' season-high six home runs and Chicago used a 21-hit attack to beat the fading Pittsburgh Pirates 11-6 Tuesday night.

''It's like we never really settled down,'' Cubs right fielder Tyler Colvin said. ''We kept hitting and kept wanting to get hits and get at-bats and it was pretty exciting to be part of it.''

Garrett Jones homered twice and drove in four runs and Brandon Wood also connected for the Pirates.

Soriano hit solo shots in the third inning off Kevin Correia (12-9) and the fourth off Tony Watson. Aramis Ramirez hit a three-run homer, Geovany Soto had a two-run drive and Marlon Byrd and Colvin also connected.

''We haven't seen an outburst like that in a while, it was just great,'' Cubs manager Mike Quade said. ''A game like this can help you in a million different ways.''

Colvin's homer cleared the right-field stands and bounced into the Allegheny River.

''It was one of those pitches I was lucky to stay inside of enough to keep it fair,'' Colvin said. ''It just felt great to hit a ball like that.''

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The Cubs could use the help as they have won three straight games for the just the second time this season. At 45-65, they have the second-worst record in the major leagues behind Houston (36-74).

The home run barrage sent the Pirates to their fifth straight loss and 10th in 13 games. Pittsburgh fell back to .500 at 54-54. The franchise has had a record 18 consecutive losing seasons.

''Everybody's got their own Rubik's Cube to figure out right now,'' manager Clint Hurdle said.

Ramirez, who snapped an 0-for-20 slump, drove in four runs while Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Colvin had three hits each. Ramirez, Byrd, Soto, Soriano and winning pitcher Randy Wells (3-4) each had two hits.

Ramirez returned to the lineup after sitting out Monday night's 5-3 victory over the Pirates with a sore quadriceps.

Wells went six innings, allowing two runs and five hits while walking one and striking out seven. Wells had compiled a 7.88 ERA in his other five road starts this season.

''I've been pitching inside a lot more and trying to make things happen a lot more, instead of just getting the sign and throwing the ball in there,'' Wells said.

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Correia was hammered for four home runs in two-plus innings. He gave up eight runs and 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Correia fell to 2-7 at home while failing in his bid for a career-high 13th victory.

''I'm going to move into the Westin downtown,'' Correia said. ''I guess I only pitch well if I sleep in a hotel bed the night before.''

Castro, Barney and Ramirez hit consecutive singles to start the game and give Chicago a 1-0 lead. Jones answered with a two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the first to put Pittsburgh ahead 2-1.

The Cubs then broke the game open with four runs in the second inning, three in the third and two in the fourth to move in front 10-2.

Colvin's solo homer in the second tied it and Ramirez then put Chicago ahead with a three-run shot to the shrubbery beyond the center-field fence. Soto's two-run homer and Soriano's first homer chased Correia in the third. In the fourth, Byrd and Soriano connected off Watson. Castro hit an RBI single in the seventh to push the Cubs' lead to 11-2.

Pittsburgh scored three times in the eighth off Ramon Ortiz as Jones hit a solo homer and Wood had a two-run blast, the Pirates' first pinch-hit home run of the season. Jones added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

NOTES: The six home runs tied the record for most hit by one team in a game at 11-year-old PNC Park. San Francisco established the mark on Aug. 4, 2002. The Cubs last hit six homers and the Pirates last gave up six homers during the 2006 season. ... The two-homer game was the 28th of Soriano's career. ... Byrd is one hit away from 1,000 for his career. Pirates OF Alex Presley, on the DL with a bruised left hand, hit off a tee for the first time Tuesday since being injured on July 22. ... Struggling RHP Charlie Morton (8-6, 4.04 ERA) will start for Pittsburgh on Wednesday night against RHP Matt Garza (4-8, 3.99) in the third game of the four-game series. Morton is 2-4 with a 7.18 ERA in his last eight starts. Garza has struggled on the road, going 1-5 with a 5.96 ERA in nine starts, compared to his 3-3 record and 2.70 ERA in 11 home starts.

Tagged: Cubs, Pirates, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Kevin Correia, Geovany Soto, Garrett Jones, Randy Wells, Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin

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