Ramirez hits two three-run home runs, strengthens market value in Cubs’ win

By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – Aramis Ramirez is making a strong case for some big money if he decides to become a free agent.

The third baseman went 4-for-5 with two homers and drove in a career-best seven runs and the Chicago Cubs held off the Philadelphia Phillies for an 11-6 victory Monday night.

Ramirez has three years remaining on his contract for $33.5 million, but he can void it after this season and test his value on the free agent market.

The Phillies would certainly be interested in a right-handed power hitter who plays third base and can protect slugger Ryan Howard in the lineup.

“I just go out and play my game,” said Ramirez, who has 19 homers in 62 games since the All-Star break. “I let my agent do the other stuff. Whatever happens, happens.”

Will Ohman relieved Chicago starter Sean Marshall and got the final two outs in the fourth.

Michael Wuertz (3-1) tossed two perfect innings to get the win.

Ramirez hit three-run homers in the first inning off Jon Lieber (8-10) and in the fourth off Eude Brito. His second shot gave Chicago an 8-0 lead.

Ramirez drove a 3-2 pitch into the left-center field seats to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead before Lieber recorded an out. Lieber dropped, then fumbled Pierre’s leadoff bouncer for an error and Ryan Theriot reached on a bunt single, before Ramirez went deep.

Pierre led off the third with his third homer and Ramirez had an RBI single to give the Cubs a 5-0 lead.

“He’s been swinging the bat great,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said of Ramirez. “He’s really finished strong.”