Cubs 3, Giants 2
CHICAGO (AP)—Jason Schmidt was throwing his usual strong game against the Cubs. And Chicago rookie Rich Hill, starting for injured Kerry Wood, made all the blooper reels by falling down as he came around third base trying to score.
After being shut down by Schmidt for seven innings and having Hill’s embarrassing stumble squash a big rally, the Cubs somehow came back to win Monday night.
“The pitcher fell down running around the bases, we didn’t get it done after that and that was our biggest opportunity,” Jeromy Burnitz said after his bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the ninth inning gave the Cubs a 3-2 victory. “We hung around, had another chance at the end and got it done.”
Chicago tied the game in the eighth on Neifi Perez’s bases-loaded single after Giants manager Felipe Alou used five relief pitchers in that inning on a hot and muggy night.
“I brought in guys according to the ballpark. I tried to stay away from the bombs, and we did stay away from them,” Alou said.
“If I had known it would have taken that many guys in the eighth, I would have stayed out there and tried to do it,” Schmidt said. “Then we could have used just one guy in the ninth. Shoot, what are you going to do? That’s baseball.”
Ronny Cedeno led off the bottom of the ninth with a single against Tyler Walker (3-3) and was sacrificed to second by Jerry Hairston. Todd Walker followed with a single to right with Cedeno holding at third before Derrek Lee was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Jeff Fassero, the Giants’ sixth pitcher in the final two innings, relieved and Burnitz hit a line drive to center. Jason Ellison caught it and made a strong throw to catcher Mike Matheny, but Cedeno just beat the tag and slid in with the game-winning run.
“I had to react on the slide because he was blocking the plate. In that situation, you have to turn (yourself) around and slide in the back of the plate,” Cedeno said.
Ryan Dempster (4-3) pitched the ninth for the win.
LaTroy Hawkins, booed loudly at Wrigley Field in 2004 and for two months this season before he was traded to the Giants, was booed again and then gave up a leadoff single to Todd Walker in the eighth.
After two forceouts, Aramis Ramirez singled and pinch-hitter Matt Murton got an infield hit to load the bases before Perez—who hit a 10th-inning grand slam Sunday night against the Cardinals—lined a single to center for a 2-2 tie.
“A very strange inning. I figured Hawkins could be lights out the whole inning,” Schmidt said. “Before you know it, it seemed like everybody was out there. That’s part of playing in Frisco.”
Schmidt, who won his previous four starts against the Cubs, allowed six hits and a run in seven strong innings before his bullpen let him down.
Pedro Feliz gave the Giants a 2-1 lead with his 16th homer in the fourth, a rising liner that got to the left-field seats in a hurry. It came off Hill, recalled from the minors earlier Monday when Wood went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder.
Hill pitched five innings, allowing five hits and two runs, but his night will be remembered most for a stumble he made on the bases that thwarted a potential big inning for Chicago.
“Good thing we came back and won the game. We can joke about it now,” Hill said.
Michael Barrett hit his first homer since June 30, a long drive to left in the third to tie the game at 1, and the Cubs appeared ready to add on.
Hill beat out an infield single and Hairston followed with a sharp single to put runners at first and second. Todd Walker then hit a hard shot past first into the right-field corner that would have been a run-scoring double, but the long-legged, 6-foot-5 Hill fell rounding third and had to retreat. Hairston, who also might have scored, scrambled back to second, leaving the Cubs with the bases loaded and one out.
Schmidt then got Lee to fly to left and retired Burnitz on a 3-2 foul pop to third.
The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the second when Mike Matheny dumped a double into the right-field corner with two outs and Marquis Grissom hit a soft RBI single.
Cubs SS Nomar Garciaparra, recovering from surgery on his groin, will begin a rehabilitation assignment at Class-A Peoria on Tuesday night. … Moises Alou, who had 39 homers and 106 RBIs last season, his third with the Cubs, returned to Wrigley Field with the Giants and went 1-for-4. He doubled in the eighth and then, at age 39, stole third base. … Chicago third baseman Ramirez made his team-high 13th error in the fourth.