Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - Jason Marquis helped Chicago clinch the best record in the National League with a solid pitching effort and five RBI, including his first career grand slam, as the Cubs topped the wild card- leading New York Mets, 9-5 in the first of four games at Shea Stadium.
Marquis (11-9) added an RBI groundout to his unlikely grand slam, while allowing four runs on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings on the mound.
Derrek Lee also homered for the Cubs (95-60), who wrapped up the NL Central over the weekend and now have home field advantage leading up to the World Series. Ryan Theriot was 3-for-3 with a pair of walks in the victory.
The Mets, meanwhile, trail the Phillies in the NL East by 2 1/2 games after Philadelphia topped Atlanta, 6-2, on Monday. New York still leads Milwaukee by a game in the wild card race with six games left to play for both clubs.
Jonathon Niese (1-1) had a forgettable third start to his career, getting torched for six runs on seven hits in three-plus innings of work for New York, which has dropped three straight after a three-game winning streak. David Wright clubbed a two-run homer for the Mets, who went just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, leaving 11 men on base.
"We knew it was going to be a rough road, a tough road," Wright said. "We hit a little snag, but we need to play well the next six games, control our destiny and get in the playoffs."
The Cubs trailed by a run before batting around in their six-run fourth. With runners on the corners, Reed Johnson singled home his second run of the game, and Theriot followed with a base hit to load the bases.
The left-handed Niese then hung a curveball to his counterpart, and Marquis sent the mistake over the right field wall, ending the rookie's outing and giving the Cubs a 6-2 lead.
"It's definitely disappointing to get the loss," Niese said. "I did my best. I just made some mistakes. I give them credit, they are a good hitting team."
Nelson Figueroa came in to pitch and got two outs before Lee continued the onslaught with his 20th homer of the year later in the frame, and Marquis chipped in a run-scoring fielder's choice off Bobby Parnell an inning later.
"I try to help myself any way possible," Marquis said. "Our guys did a good job of getting on base tonight. I consider myself an athlete. I work hard on all aspects of the game. I work hard to do the best because you never know what's going to help you win the ballgame."
New York put its first two hitters on base in the fourth and sixth innings but came away empty-handed.
Wright cut the deficit to 8-4 with a two-out, two-run homer that narrowly cleared the left field wall in the seventh, but Ryan Church later flew out with two runners on and two outs to end the comeback threat.
Felix Pie legged out a two-out infield single in the away ninth to knock in Aramis Ramirez for a commanding 9-4 Chicago lead.
Carlos Marmol allowed an RBI groundout from Carlos Beltran in bottom half to account for the Mets' final tally, and Kerry Wood was called in from the bullpen to record the final out with two runners on to record his 33rd save of the season.
Niese retired five straight hitters to begin the game, but a double by Mark DeRosa into the left-field gap followed by Johnson's single up the middle put New York in a 1-0 hole.
The Mets got the run back in the bottom half when Marquis uncorked a wild pitch with two outs and runners on the corners, scoring Carlos Delgado, and the home team took their first lead an inning later on back-to-back doubles by Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy.