Cormier rocked by Cubs again

Cormier rocked by Cubs again

ATLANTA -- The Braves have seen enough of Alfonso Soriano, especially Lance Cormier.

"No. 1, he's a great hitter," manager Bobby Cox said of the Cubs leadoff man. "No. 2, you have to make good pitches to a good hitter, and we didn't even come close."

Soriano hit Cormier's first pitch for a home run and also went deep his next two times up against the shell-shocked right-hander as the Cubs ripped the Braves, 9-1, on Friday night at Turner Field.

"He's good," Cormier said. "He gets paid big bucks for a reason."

Against the Braves, Soriano certainly earns his money.

This was the second time that Soriano has hit three homers in a game, the other time also coming against the Braves on April 21 of last year while with the Washington Nationals.

Soriano has 14 homers in his past 26 games against the Braves and is a .379 career hitter against them. He is 12-for-21 with five homers in seven games against Atlanta this season.

Cormier allowed a homer to Soriano on Sunday at Wrigley Field during a 10-1 loss in which he gave up three blasts and eight runs in four-plus innings.

That was his first start after coming off the disabled list, and his second was little different.

Cormier lasted 3 2/3 innings this time, surprisingly giving up just five runs despite six walks and four homers. Michael Barrett also went deep for his eighth homer and the other run came on a bases-loaded walk.

"He walked too many and made too many bad pitches," Cox said of Cormier. "The stuff is there, he's just rusty."

Before hurting his shoulder late in Spring Training, Cormier was nearly unhittable. Now he can hardly get anyone out. Certainly not Soriano.

The last five times Cormier has faced Soriano, he has allowed four homers and a triple. Overall, the Cubs left fielder is 10-for-15 against him.

Cormier started Soriano off with a fastball away to open this game.

"It was probably a ball," Cormier said.

But Soriano hit it the other way on a line over the right-field fence for the 35th leadoff homer of his career.

With one out in the second inning, Cormier started Soriano off with a cutter down. This time he pulled a home run to left field.

Soriano came up again leading off the fourth inning. Cormier got ahead of him 0-2, but a curveball got too much of the plate and Soriano smashed his third consecutive homer.

The homers were the eighth, ninth and 10th of the season for Soriano, who had a chance to become the 16th Major Leaguer to hit four homers in a game.

With Cormier out, it didn't happen.

Soriano drew an intentional walk in the fifth, grounded out in the seventh and was caught trying to stretch a single into a double in the ninth.

The 4-for-5 game raised Soriano's average to .326 for the season.

Meanwhile, Cormier's ERA is 15.26.

"Very frustrating," Cormier said. "I've never felt better pitching before I got hurt, and now it's a battle out there. I'm trying to get the feel back."

"All his pitches were right there," Cox said, indicating the middle of the plate.

Meanwhile, left-hander Sean Marshall (2-2) beat the Braves for the second time in six days, allowing four hits in six innings. He worked 6 2/3 innings at Chicago on Sunday, also allowing one run.

The Braves have faced 29 left-handed starters this season. They are 12-17 against them.

Worse yet, though, the Braves have lost four straight at home and eight of the last nine, falling to 16-16 at Turner Field.

Overall, they are 33-29 and 4 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East.

Last season, the Braves went into a 2-18 June swoon to fall out of the race. They aren't playing much better this June.

The Braves committed three errors (two by first baseman Scott Thorman), made two wild pitches, committed a passed ball and allowed three stolen bases.

Asked if it was the Braves' worst game of the season, Cox snapped, "I could probably think of another."

He wasn't in any mood to try, however.

Before the game, sidelined third baseman Chipper Jones had said, "We're not playing championship ball."

Then, things just got worse.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.