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CHICAGO (AP) Doug Davis pitched into the eighth inning in easily his best start of the season and the Chicago Cubs began a rare series against the New York Yankees with a 3-1 victory on Friday.
Aramis Ramirez hit a pair of RBI singles and made a couple nice plays in the field for Chicago, which has won four of five after dropping a season-high 14 games under .500. Starlin Castro doubled twice and is batting .458 (11 for 24) in the last six games.
A season-high crowd of 42,219 packed Wrigley Field for the Bronx Bombers’ first trip to the neighborhood ballpark in eight years. There was a smattering of “Let’s go Yankees!” chants but the mostly red-and-blue clad fans were firmly behind the Cubs on a sunny, breezy afternoon.
It was a homecoming of sorts for Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was born in Peoria, went to college at nearby Northwestern and rooted for the Cubs when he was a kid. He also played six seasons for the Cubs during two stints with the club that drafted him in 1986.
Girardi and the Yankees rolled into Chicago coming off a three-game sweep against AL champion Texas and winners of six of seven overall. But they were never able to solve Davis, who entered with an 0-5 record and a 5.90 ERA in six starts this season.
Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez had the Yankees’ only hits off Davis before Nick Swisher doubled with one out in the eighth to chase the left-hander.
Davis (1-5) received a thunderous ovation as he left the mound following his longest start since he pitched eight innings in a 5-2 victory for Arizona at Wrigley Field on Oct. 4, 2009.
Sean Marshall struck out Curtis Granderson before Mark Teixeira lined an RBI single into center field to trim Chicago’s lead to 3-1. Cubs manager Mike Quade then went to closer Carlos Marmol, who struck out Alex Rodriguez to end the inning and closed it out for his 14th save.
Marmol got a boost in the ninth when defensive replacement Reed Johnson made an outstanding sliding catch along the left-field line to take away an extra-base hit away from Cano. The Yankees went on to put runners on first and second, but Marmol struck out pinch-hitter Chris Dickerson to end the game.
Freddy Garcia (5-6) shook off a slow start and worked seven solid innings for the Yankees, allowing three runs and six hits. The right-hander struck out three and walked two.
Chicago got to Garcia for two in the first and one in the third. Ramirez had an run-scoring single in each inning, and Castro doubled in Kosuke Fukudome in the first.
Ramirez also made one of his best plays in the field, charging in to barehand Russell Martin’s slow roller to third before making a strong throw to first.
NOTES: The game was delayed for a couple minutes before the third inning. There appeared to be a problem with glare coming off an object near the batter’s eye in center field. … Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, now an executive with Major League Baseball, was on the field before the game and spent some time with Girardi and Quade. Torre’s right arm was in a sling after undergoing rotator cuff surgery. … Girardi said he might give regular designated hitter Posada a start at first base during New York’s six-game trip to Chicago and Cincinnati. Posada was batting .457 (16 for 35) in his last nine games heading into Friday, and Girardi is hoping he can stay sharp during the stint at NL parks. … Seth Myers, the head writer of “Saturday Night Live,” led the singing of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch.
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