was a 38th-round draft pick pick in 2002 and spent most of the next six years in the minor leagues, waiting for that chance
every player craves.
It came when he was called up by the
in May. And the way he's been pitching, there won't be a return trip to Triple-A.
''I can't really put in words, even if I try, to be in the position I'm in when they told me I was going to make a couple
of starts early in May,'' Wells said Monday night after beating the
4-2 for his fourth straight victory.
''It's rewarding for me,'' he added. ''It's been a long journey. I couldn't ask for anything more.''
Wells (4-3) gave up seven hits and two runs in six innings, including a homer to
. He got early support when the Cubs scored four runs in the first two innings, including a two-run homer by
in the first.
Wells nearly made the Cubs' roster out of spring training as a reliever. But being sent back to Triple-A Iowa allowed him
to stretch out as a starter and work on his pitches. Now the rookie has become a key member of the Cubs' rotation.
''Sitting in Iowa for three or four years, whatever it was, you are on the cusp,'' Wells said. ''All you can ask for is the
shot, get an opportunity to show you can play.''
Jurrjens (6-7), who held the Phillies hitless for 6 2-3 innings in his previous start, gave up four runs and seven hits in
six innings, including Lee's 16th homer.
''He's been hot a couple weeks, and when you hang a pitch like that you're going to pay,'' Jurrjens.
''I wish I could take those two innings back, especially the pitch to Lee.''
Lee's been swinging a strong bat since mid-May, helping the Cubs make up for the absence of
, who returned Monday after two months on the DL with a dislocated shoulder.
''Basically he's been carrying us,'' Cubs manager
said of Lee, who has four homers in the last five games.
''You feel like if you get a good pitch to hit, you're going to hit it hard,'' Lee said. ''It's definitely a lot more fun
than grounding out to the shortstop every at-bat and running back to the dugout.''
Ramirez got a loud ovation in his first at-bat. He went 0 for 4.
''I want to go out there and play. That's what I get paid to do and finally I'm doing it,'' said Ramirez, who was admittedly
rusty. ''Of course, I haven't played in two months. I went down to the minors and get nine at-bats, but it's not the same.''
Jurrjens had given up only six homers all year before Lee drove a pitch deep into the left-field bleachers in the first -
one out after a leadoff single by
- to give the Cubs an early cushion.
The Cubs tacked on two more in the second with four straight two-out hits.
and Wells singled, Fukudome lined an RBI double into the right-field corner and
beat an out an infield single to short as Wells scored for a 4-0 lead.
''JJ was fine, just made a real bad pitch to Derrek,'' Braves manager
said. ''The other one, he had two outs with Fontenot and the pitcher and they ended up getting two more. After that, they
Atlanta had three singles off Wells in the fourth, including an RBI liner to center by
that cut the lead to 4-1. And when Wells' fumbled
's dribbler to the left of the mound for an error, the Braves had the bases loaded. Wells escaped by striking out
and getting Jurrjens to hit into a forceout.
McClouth led off the fifth with his 14th homer - fifth since joining the Braves - to cut the lead in half.
worked the ninth for his 15th save in 18 chances.
NOTES: Wells is the first Cubs rookie to win four straight starts since
in 1998, according to Elias Sports Bureau. ...
was out of Atlanta's starting lineup for a third straight day Monday, benched in favor of hot-hitting outfielder
. Francoeur pinch hit in the seventh and had an infield single.