Game Seventy-One – Cubs 5 Rangers 6
WP – Eric Gagne (2-0) LP – Bob Howry (3-4) Save – None
Ted Lilly gave up 5 runs in the first 3 innings but settled down and retired the last 10 batters he faced while finishing with 10 strikeouts but once again the Cubs offense could not come through with enough hits with runners in scoring position. The Cubs battled back to tie the game while Lilly gave them every opportunity to take the lead. Lou Piniella’s crew was 5-for-19 with runners in scoring position, left 13 on base and grounded into two double plays and once again could not find enough defense or offense to put together a much-needed win.
The winning run in the 9th was scored by ex-Cub Kenny Lofton, who managed to slide in under the tag of Cesar Izturis after a bad decision by Bobby Howry when they caught Lofton off 2nd base after a come-backer to the mound. The Cubs found yet another unique way to lose a game. This was a series the Cubs had to win against the team with the worst record in baseball. They showed signs of life in the 5th inning and scored 4 runs on 6 straight hits after leaving the bases loaded with no outs in the 2nd inning. But after Willie Eyre came in the game and a great play by Michael Young at short, they could not take advantage of runners on 1st and 3rd with 1-out as Ryan Theriot hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Derrek Lee tied the game in the 6th after Alfonso Soriano doubled to start the inning but new Cub, Rob Bowen, could not come through with 2-outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Bowen did have a good debut….1-for-3 with 2 walks and a RBI.
Ted Lilly retired the Rangers in order in the 1st inning but gave up 5 runs in the 2nd and 3rd. Victor Diaz and Adam Melhuse hit back-to-back homers in the 2nd and Marlon Byrd hit a 2-run single in the 3rd for the Rangers’ runs off of Lilly.
Lou Piniella has a lot of work to do with his crew.
The Cubs travel back to Chicago to open a 3-game series on the South Side against the White Sox on Friday afternoon….Carlos Zambrano against Mark Buehrle.