Alfonso Soriano has shrugged off the boos and the criticism, refusing to internalize the notions of others.

Everything from his perceived lackadaisical attitude, to his lack of hustle on the bases and quirky hops on routine flyouts have caused some to question his work ethic and mind-set.

His latest - and loudest - critic, Cubs TV color analyst and former manager Bob Brenley, called Soriano "selfish" for not running out a fly ball the Chicago leftfielder thought was a home run in Monday's loss to the Mets.

But last night, Soriano's bat spoke for him.

The former Yankee just missed hitting for the cycle, with a single, triple and a home run in the Cubs' 9-3 win over the Mets. He also walked, scored twice and drove in two runs.

"I got it last night, but not tonight," he said with a big grin, referring to the double that eluded him in his quest for the cycle. "That's OK. The more important thing is the win we got and it's a very important win for us."

Despite his shortcomings in the field (three errors), Soriano has been tearing it up at the plate. With a 3-for-4 performance last night, he is hitting .464 (13-for-28) with three walks, four runs, five doubles, and five RBIs in his last nine games.

"People always have something to say, especially negative things. But I don't pay attention," said Soriano, who missed becoming the first Cub to hit for the cycle since Mark Grace on May 9, 1993. "That's my game and I play hard all the time. That's my concern because I love the game.

"It doesn't make me comfortable that people talk negative things, but it just makes me work hard and try to do better and do a better job in the field."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he was especially pleased by the leftfielder's production.

"Soriano had a nice night. He really did," Piniella said. "He's been swinging the bat. He hit the ball hard. It's good to see. It's an encouraging sign."

Piniella pulled Soriano aside after the gaffe on the bases Monday. "We talked the other day," Piniella said. "I told him, 'Run hard. If it's out, then you can slow up.' "

Soriano appeared to have heeded the message last night - although he almost was tagged out by David Wright sliding on a fourth-inning triple.

Piniella, however, praised Soriano's aggressiveness.

"It was a good play," he said.

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