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Clement and Cubs finish off sweep of Mets

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Clement and Cubs finish off sweep of Mets

Postby WebHamster » Mon Apr 26, 2004 1:00 am

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Matt Clement took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out a career-high 13 batters in eight innings, as the Chicago Cubs completed a three-game sweep of the New York Mets with a 4-1 win at Wrigley Field.

Clement (3-1) was dominant from the outset, fanning 10 of the first 16 batters he faced through five innings. He didn't allow a hit until Karim Garcia's solo home run with one out in the seventh. The righthander yielded one run on two hits in all, while walking a pair en route to his third consecutive win.

"I guess it's pretty hard to throw a no-hitter, especially with the wind blowing out here," said Clement. "Your odds aren't with you."

The Cubs, winners of six straight, once again reaped the benefits of a strong hitting performance from the red-hot Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez belted a two-run homer and finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Michael Barrett and Corey Patterson each stroked two hits with an RBI for Chicago, which has outscored its opponents by a 39-5 margin during the current win streak.

Al Leiter (1-1) went the first five innings for the Mets, allowing three runs on seven hits for his first loss of the year. New York has dropped eight of the last nine meetings with the Cubs, including six in a row at Wrigley.

Mike Piazza, still looking for his 351st career home run as a catcher to tie Carlton Fisk's mark, finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

The Cubs struck first in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. Barrett doubled and scored on a two-out single by Patterson.

With Moises Alou aboard in the fourth, Ramirez made it 3-0 on a two-run homer to center, his sixth of the season.

Clement, who struck out the side in the second and fifth innings, kept the Mets' batters off balance, making them look foolish with the help of a nasty slider that complemented a steady fastball.

"Every strikeout I got, except maybe one or two, the fastball was the reason," Clement said. "It wasn't the slider, even though it might have been the strikeout pitch. The fastball was the reason -- getting ahead and attacking the hitters."

New York finally got to Clement in the seventh when Garcia's solo blast to center broke up the no-hitter and shutout bid. Eric Valent later singled for the only other hit off Clement.

"I believe he had good enough stuff to pitch a no-hitter," said Barrett, Clement's battery mate. "I knew after he made two good pitches to [Mets shortstop Kaz] Matsui in the first that he'd be locked in."

Chicago came back with an insurance run in the home half of the seventh. Ramirez set the table with a single and eventually scored on a single by Barrett.

Clement gave way to closer Joe Borowski for the ninth. Borowski pitched a perfect inning for his fourth save.

Ramirez is now 19-for-45 (.422) with six home runs and 18 RBI in his last 11 contests.

New York has lost five of its last six games, and scored just six runs in its last seven setbacks. Mets first baseman Jason Phillips was hitless in three at-bats and is mired in an 0-for-26 slump.
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