LOS ANGELES—Derrek Lee isn't thinking about it, and no one is saying he can keep it up the entire season.
But after the first two months of 2005, Lee was the National League leader in batting average, home runs and RBIs, putting him on an early pace to become the major leagues' first Triple Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Continuing his red-hot streak, Lee went 5-for-5 Wednesdayincluding a three-run homer in the eighth to secure the Cubs' 9-5 victory, their sixth straight.
"I've played with a lot of great players. This is the best streak I've ever seen," Cubs catcher Michael Barrett said, shaking his head.
Making his major-league debut, Cubs left-hander John Koronka allowed three runs in five innings and left with a 5-3 lead. The Cubs gave Koronka an early cushion to work with, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning off Derek Lowe on Todd Hollandsworth's run-scoring infield hit and Neifi Perez's three-run home run.
But the Dodgers broke through with three off Koronka in the third on J.D. Drew's RBI double and Olmedo Saenz's two-run homer. Michael Wuertz bailed Todd Wellemeyer out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh, allowing only a sacrifice fly by Jayson Werth to pull the Dodgers within a run at 6-5.
Lee's 17th homer off Duaner Sanchez with two outs in the eighth tied Alex Rodriguez for the major league lead and lifted his big league-best RBI total to 50.
"It was a great night for the whole team," Lee said.
The 29-year-old first baseman has gone 17-for-29 with five homers and 11 RBIs in his last seven games.
"It's one of those grooves where you're just seeing the ball. It feels like slow motion," Lee said. "I'm not doing anything different. I'm seeing the ball well, getting good at-bats."
"The guy's been unbelievable," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He's locked in pretty good. That three-run homer made us all feel a lot, lot better."
"As hot as he is and as well as he's swinging the bat, if you mislocate pitches in the middle of the plate to this guy, you're going to pay for it," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "When you lead in all offensive categories that would qualify you for the Triple Crown. It's very obvious that he's really beginning to find himself offensively."
The Cubs head into San Diego on Thursday playing their best ball this season, led by Lee's amazing start. Going by his career numbers, Lee's assault on the Triple Crown appears implausible. There are only 16 Triple Crown winners in major-league history.
Before Wednesday's output, Lee was on pace to finish with a .363 average, 52 homers and 149 RBIs. His previous bests in the three categories were .282 (with Florida in 2001), 32 homers (with the Cubs in '04) and 98 RBIs (also in '04).
Two players, St. Louis' Rogers Hornsby and Boston's Ted Williams, accomplished the feat twice.
The last time a Cubs player came close to winning a Triple Crown was in 1972, when Billy Williams finished first in batting average (.333), third in home runs (37) and second in RBIs (122).
Lee said he had "no idea" of the players who had won Triple Crowns before, or that Yastrzemski was the last to do so in '67.
"That's incredible," Lee said. "Especially to lead in both average and power. A lot of times you have to sacrifice one or the other."
Given the chance to lead in only one of the three categories, Lee said he'd rather finish first in RBIs since that would be considered more of a team stat. His 50 RBIs in 51 games is the fastest for a Cub since Sammy Sosa had 50 in 51 games in 2000. Andre Dawson drove in 54 in his first 51 games in 1987.
Lee has been the focus of increased media attention over the last two weeks. In an article about the Cubs in the Los Angeles Daily News Tuesday, Lee was quoted as saying: "The only thing negative is the media, and we (players) think of that as entertainment."
Lee said Wednesday he wasn't trying to imply the Chicago media was negative or that players considered the criticism as "entertaining."
"I wasn't (ripping the Chicago media)," he said. "If you write in the paper 'Lee stinks,' that's not going to affect me. I'll just laugh. And if you write 'Derrek Lee is the best player in the league,' that won't affect me either. I'll laugh. Either way, I'm entertained."
Koronka allowed three runs and six hits in five innings to earn the victory in his big-league debut. Koronka, a 24-year-old left-hander who has pitched in 165 minor league games, walked three and struck out four.
"It feels great," Koronka said. "First game, get a win, it's unbelievable."
Koronka made his debut before a sellout crowd of 54,093.
"I got out there and saw all those people, it kind of pumped me up," he said.
Associated Press contributed to this report.