Larry Bowa’s hair is safe for now.
At a team meeting several weeks ago, the Philadelphia Phillies manager promised his players that he would let them shave his head or dye his hair blond if they won 10 in a row.
Now that the Phillies’ season-high seven-game winning streak is over, they will try to get right back in the win column when they meet the Chicago Cubs in the finale of their four-game series at Veterans Stadium.
Philadelphia, which had won 10 of its previous 12, managed just one hit off four Cubs pitchers Wednesday in a 1-0 loss.
“We’ll just have to start another streak tomorrow,” Bowa said.
The Cubs, who had lost six of their previous seven, scored their lone run on a homer by Sammy Sosa in the ninth. The victory moved them into a first-place tie with the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central
“This win was great for the ballclub,” Sosa said. “We’re always positive but these last couple of games have been tough.”
Chicago manager Dusty Baker was particularly happy to pick up a win in a close game. Nine of the Cubs’ last 11 losses have been by one or two runs.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” said Baker, whose team lost 4-3 in each of the series’ first two games. “It’s great for us to win a game like that. We were trying to forget about those one-run losses and this goes a long way.”
STANDINGS: Cubs - 1st place (tied), NL Central. Phillies - 2nd place, 5 1/2 GB, NL East.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Carlos Zambrano (6-6, 3.13 ERA). Zambrano has just one win in his past six starts. On Saturday, he allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings, but did not get a decision as the Cubs lost 7-6 to the Chicago White Sox. The 22-year-old right-hander did not get a decision in his only previous start against the Phillies despite allowing just one earned run in 5 2-3 innings.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Brett Myers (7-6, 3.62 ERA). Myers was not at his best on Saturday, but he still got the decision in the Phillies’ 9-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed five runs and 10 hits while striking out three and walking none in six innings. Myers’ only previous start against the Cubs came in his major league debut last season. He earned the win after allowing one run and two hits in eight innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cubs - Corey Patterson, .301 avg., 13 HRs, 55 RBIs, 48 runs and 16 SBs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .325 avg.; Jim Thome, 21 HRs, 58 RBIs and 54 runs; Bobby Abreu, Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins, 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cubs - SS Jose Hernandez is 5-for-9 (.556) in his career against RHP Myers. … LF Moises Alou, mired in a 2-for-20 slump, did not play Wednesday. … RF Sosa needs one home run to tie Mel Ott for 16th on the all-time list with 511. Phillies - RHP Turk Wendell had not allowed a run in 14 straight innings before giving up Sosa’s homer on Wednesday. It was also the first homer he’s allowed in 29 innings this season. … 1B Thome went 0-for-4 Wednesday, snapping a 10-game hitting streak. … The Phillies’ bullpen has allowed just two runs in the last 34 1-3 innings.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cubs - 23-21 on the road; Phillies - 25-17 at home.
INJURIES: Cubs - LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Dave Veres (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL. Phillies - INF Tyler Houston (finger), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL.