Cubs 8, Rockies 5

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CHICAGO (AP)—Andy MacPhail is out. Is manager Dusty Baker the next to go after another dismal season for the Chicago Cubs?

An emotional MacPhail stepped down as president and CEO of the Cubs, a post he’s held for 12 years, right after Chicago beat the Colorado Rockies 8-5 and finished with the worst record in the National League.

“This is the first thing I’ve ever done in baseball that I didn’t have a high level of success at,” MacPhail said, his voice cracking at the end of a news conference.

Baker’s future after four years will be announced Monday following a meeting with general manager Jim Hendry.

The Cubs have made just two playoff appearances since MacPhail joined them in 1994 after he spent nine years with the Minnesota Twins, leading them to two World Series titles.

“The clock on the MacPhail o-meter has run down to zero,” said MacPhail who told reporters he broached the subject of resigning during a team review in midseason. “It’s not just that we had a terrible season. I’ve been here 12 seasons and only two postseason (appearances) and to me that’s not what I came here to do. Obviously, I’ve not been as effective as I wanted to be.”

Marketing vice president John McDonough will take over the day-to-day operation on an interim basis. MacPhail will stay on through the transition and also do his work for the major league baseball negotiating committee.

MacPhail’s grandfather and father were longtime baseball executives and both are in the Hall of Fame.

“I’ve been in the business my entire life. I was born to it,” Andy MacPhail said. “There is one rule that applies to everything. You got to win and if you don’t win, it’s subject to change.”

Since MacPhail took over the operation, the Cubs won the NL wild card in 1998 and the NL Central in 2003, when they fell five outs short of making the World Series.

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and haven’t been in one since 1945. They were 66-96 this season.

“This is a baseball decision. It’s an issue of making sure our fans know that we are committed to winning,” said Tribune Co. chairman, president and CEO Dennis Fitzsimons, adding his company has no plans to sell the Cubs. “Andy MacPhail has been committed to winning. For whatever reasons, it didn’t work out.”

The Cubs did win Sunday and now Baker will learn of his future. He’s not expected to be retained after a miserable season of injuries and poor play.

“It’s not like I’m walking death row or something. You’re always relieved when you know the direction,” Baker said. “Not only in my baseball career but in life period.”

McDonough said Sunday he was not aware if Hendry had made a decision on Baker.

In the game, Juan Pierre hit a go-ahead single in a three-run seventh inning for the Cubs, who rallied from an early 4-0 deficit.

Baker’s four-year record with the Cubs is 322-326. He was booed in the seventh inning when he went to the mound to change pitchers.

Colorado scored four in the third off Wade Miller on Kaz Matsui’s two-run homer and Brad Hawpe’s two-run, bases-loaded single.

Aramis Ramirez, who can opt out of his contract after the season, hit a two-run homer in the fourth to get the Cubs within 4-2.

Scott Moore singled with two outs in the seventh and Henry Blanco walked to finish Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who had given up just three hits in his first major league start.

Ronny Cedeno hit an RBI single off reliever Jeremy Affeldt (4-2) to make it 4-3, and Chicago tied in when Rockies shortstop Clint Barnes fumbled pinch-hitter Angel Pagan’s grounder for an error.

Pierre followed with an RBI single to left to put the Cubs ahead.

The Cubs added three in the eighth on John Mabry’s RBI single and a two-run triple by Cedeno. Garrett Atkins hit his 29th homer in the Rockies ninth.

David Aardsma (3-0) got the win, getting two outs.

Miller, in his fifth start, gave up six hits and four runs in four innings. He spent most of the season on the disabled list recovering from shoulder surgery.

Notes

The Rockies finished 76-86, a nine-win improvement from 2005. … Jimenez was 14-4 in Double-A and Triple-A combined this season before being called up. He made his major league debut in relief last week. … Cubs rookie pitchers started 78 games this season. … The Wrigley Field grounds crew sang during the seventh-inning stretch. … A crowd of 39,609 pushed the Cubs’ season home attendance to 3,123,215—second largest in team history. The most well attended home season came in 2004—3,170,184.

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