Chicago (15-18) at Washington (18-16)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 37° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri May 13, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Derrek Lee has been carrying the Chicago Cubs.

He looks to continue his torrid hitting when Chicago opens a three-game series with the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium.

Lee has been a one-man wrecking crew at the plate for Chicago, helping to offset injuries to several key players with clutch hitting and speed on the base paths. The Cubs first baseman leads the team in just about every major offensive category with a .383 average, 10 home runs, 33 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

Lee hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday, giving the Cubs a 4-3 win over the New York Mets despite the latest meltdown by Chicago’s bullpen.

Lee’s homer came on a 3-2 pitch from Mets reliever Heath Bell and ended an 11-pitch at-bat.

“He just kept challenging me,” Lee said. “I’m glad we won.”

The Mets tied it at 3 on pinch-hitter Eric Valent’s two-out single in the ninth off new closer Ryan Dempster.

“I guess we don’t do anything the easy way,” Chicago manager Dusty Baker said.

Dempster blew his first save chance of the season. He took over the closer’s role from LaTroy Hawkins, who blew three of seven save opportunities.

Dempster went for X-rays on his right forearm after getting hit by a line drive. He has a deep bruise and is listed as day-to-day.

Washington has lost three of its last four games, including two straight to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Nationals failed to hold a late lead in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks. Washington was held to six hits and failed to come through with runners in scoring position.

“We had opportunities to put them away and we just didn’t take advantage of it,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “We had multiple opportunities and just couldn’t get that big hit.”

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Starting Pitchers

G. Rusch COL vs. E. Loaiza CWS
9-8 Record 12-10
4.52 ERA 3.77
111 K 173
53 BB 55
1.57 WHIP 1.30