Game Twelve – Cubs 2 Astros 3 – 10 innings
WP – Tim Byrdak (1-0) LP – Sean Marshall (0-1) Save – Matt Lindstrom (2)
The Cubs played and lost their first extra inning game of the season to the Astros. Houston began the series against Lou Piniella’s crew with only one win on the young season … and will leave Chicago after taking two of three at Wrigley Field.
Ryan Dempster’s outstanding effort was wasted after Carlos Marmol allowed an inherited run to score in the eighth and Geoff Blum to tie it in the ninth. Dempster departed with two on and two out in the eighth after he walked Michael Bourn. Jeff Keppinger ripped Marmol’s first pitch into center and drove in Tony Manzella with the Astros’ first run of the game.
Carlos Marmol retired Carlos Lee to start the ninth but Hunter Pence singled to left past Ryan Theriot on the first pitch of the at bat. With Geoff Blum at the plate, Hunter Pence stole second. Koyie Hill, who replaced Geovany Soto in the ninth, could not get the ball out of his glove. Geoff Blum then pulled a 2-2 pitch into right field, Pence scored and tied the game at two.
Until Sunday afternoon Carlos Marmol was a perfect 15-for-15 in save situations since being named the Cubs’ closer last season.
Jason Michaels led off the tenth with a double to right center off of Sean Marshall. Michael Bourn sacrificed him to third. After an intentional walk to Jeff Keppinger, Pedro Feliz golfed the first pitch from Marshall into left center. Michaels trotted home with the winning run.
Matt Lindstrom picked up his second save in as many days. Marlon Byrd (3-for-5 with a double and two RBI) singled to left with two outs in the bottom of the tenth. But Derrek Lee, who was 0-for-6 against Lindstrom in his career, struck out swinging to end the game.
The Cubs offense managed only two runs on seven hits and had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. The Cubs left seven on base and finished the afternoon 1-for-5 with RISP.
With the loss, the Cubs finished their first homestand 3-3 and will begin a seven-game road trip with a 5-7 record …
Ryan Dempster walked Bourn twice on Sunday, his only two free passes of the day were to Bourn, and the second one cost him a run.
Dempster struck out eight and did not allow a run while he was on the mound. The Astros managed only four hits in 7 2/3 off Ryan Dempster.
Wandy Rodriguez held the Cubs in check on Sunday afternoon. Marlon Byrd came through with a two-out, two-run single to left in the third … other than Ryan Dempster, the Cubs lone highlight of the game.
Jeff Baker (1-for-2 with a run scored and two walks) walked to start the third. Geovany Soto (2-for-3 with a run scored) singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. Ryan Dempster dropped the first of two sacrifice bunts on the day up the third base line … it was an excellent bunt. Baker and Soto advanced on the play.
Ryan Theriot tapped back to the mound for the second out … but Marlon Byrd delivered a single to left on 0-2 pitch from Rodriguez.
It looked like Byrd’s two-run single would hold up with the way Dempster was pitching on Sunday.
With the game tied at two in the bottom of the ninth, Kosuke Fukudome reached on a two-out walk. Jeff Baker walked and the Cubs had the winning run in scoring position. Koyie Hill ran the count to 2-2 against Tim Byrdak but flied out to left to end the inning.
Lou Piniella was not happy with his offense after Sunday’s loss and promised changes to his lineup. Piniella said Theriot would hit eighth against lefties with Marlon Byrd leading off and Jeff Baker hitting in the two-hole. The Cubs’ manager mentioned the possibility of hitting Xavier Nady fourth in between Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez.
The Cubs begin a seven-game road trip on Monday with the first of four against the Mets. Randy Wells is scheduled to face Jon Niese in the opener under the lights.