Rockies 11, Cubs 9, 14 innings

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CHICAGO (AP)—It was fitting that Brad Hawpe was slipping as he caught the final out. He had just enough balance to make the catch, and the Colorado Rockies picked themselves up after squandering an eight-run lead.

Jeff Baker singled in two runs with two out in the 14th inning, and Colorado beat the Chicago Cubs 11-9 Saturday.

When pinch-hitter Carlos Zambrano lifted a fly to right with a runner on second and two out, Hawpe had just one thought.

“Brad, just stay with it, stay with it,”’ he said.

The game lasted 4 hours, 53 minutes and included a 38-minute rain delay in the bottom of the 11th inning, so Colorado manager Clint Hurdle’s request to reporters as he sat at a desk, rubbing his head, was understandable: “Don’t accuse me if I don’t remember.”

He had seen Jacque Jones tie the game with an RBI single with two out in the ninth and watched both teams squander opportunities in extra innings.

Todd Helton doubled off Jae Kuk Ryu (0-1) to start the Colorado 14th and Hawpe walked. After a sacrifice bunt by Clint Barmes, Chris Iannetta struck out. But Baker singled up the middle, past a diving shortstop Ronny Cedeno, after spending most of the day on the bench.

“Everytime the pitchers’ spot comes up, you’re getting loose,” said Baker, who went out to left field when the Rockies made a double-switch in the 13th. “I think I stretched out about six or seven times, including the rain delay. But I was just excited to get in the game and be presented with that opportunity, come through and help us win.”

Ramon Ramirez (4-3) earned the win, allowing two hits in 1 2-3 scoreless innings.

Hawpe, who had his second career four-hit game, gave the Rockies an 8-0 lead with a solo homer leading off the third.

The Cubs trailed just 9-8 in the ninth when Matt Murton drew a two-out walk from closer Brian Fuentes, advanced all the way to third on a wild pitch and scored on Jones’ single. The blown save was Fuentes’ sixth in 36 chances.

“We battled hard today,” Hawpe said. “It’s a good win for us to take away. It’s too bad we had to play so long to do it because we had it early on.”

Hawpe doubled off Bob Howry leading off the 10th and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt but was stranded. Colorado’s Garrett Atkins flied to the wall off Roberto Novoa in the 11th.

With a runner on first and two outs in the 12th, the Cubs turned to 2005 batting champion Derrek Lee, who flied to right in his first at-bat since Sept. 14. Lee was on a leave of absence to tend to his 3-year-old daughter, who has a genetic eye disease.

“It’s been such a long layoff,” Lee said. “It soothes your mind a little bit to try to hit a baseball.”

Colorado’s Kaz Matsui pinch-hit a triple off Ryu leading off the 13th but stayed there. The Cubs had runners on first on first and second with two out in the bottom of the inning, when Jones grounded out.

Both teams played 18 innings on Aug. 15, when the Cubs won 8-6 at Houston and the Rockies lost 2-1 at home to Arizona.

Colorado’s Jamey Carroll started a three-run first with the first leadoff homer of his career, and Matt Holliday made it 7-0 with a two-run homer with two out in the second that chased starter Juan Mateo.

Iannetta went deep leading of the eighth after the Cubs pulled to 8-6.

Rockies starter Jeff Francis allowed six runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He left with an 8-3 lead and the bases loaded before Ryan Theriot hit a three-run double off Nate Field.

Freddie Bynum pinch-hit a two-run triple with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to pull Chicago within 9-8.

With Pittsburgh beating Cincinnati, the Cubs can finish no better than tied with the Pirates for the National League’s worst record.

Chicago was hit hard by injuries, with Lee and pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood missing most of the season.

Through it all, there was speculation surrounding manager Dusty Baker’s future. His four-year contract is expiring, and he is expected to find out Monday if the organization wants him back.

“How can you blame a guy for this season when … you could have had a legend like Joe Torre in the dugout and you still would have lost?” Chicago’s Juan Pierre said.


Cubs GM Jim Hendry said he spoke to Aramis Ramirez’s agent on Friday and hopes to have the third baseman back next year. Ramirez can opt out of his contract. Hendry would also like to have Kerry Wood back as a reliever. The Cubs can buy out his $13.5 million salary for $3 million. And Hendry expects CF Juan Pierre to explore the free-agent market. … The Rockies’ four homers tied a season-high.

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