CHICAGO (AP)—When Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella saw his interleague schedule, he was relieved.
The Cubs were matched up against the American League East this season, but didn’t draw the Yankees or the Red Sox. Turns out, he should’ve been worried about the Rays and the Orioles.
The Cubs (49-30) won two of three at Toronto but dropped five of six against the surprisingly good Rays and Orioles.
“I thought maybe we caught a break,” Piniella said. “But this was before we played Tampa Bay and Baltimore.”
Brian Roberts had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 13 games as Baltimore roughed up Jason Marquis, who hadn’t lost in his previous seven starts. Huff had three doubles and the Orioles collected 13 hits on a muggy day in Chicago.
“I thought today the attitude of the club was, we’re going to go out and score a bunch of runs,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee was envious of all that hitting.
“We got beat up,” he said. “They looked like they were having fun out there, scoring runs.”
The Orioles broke it open with five runs in the third inning, winning the rubber game of their first-ever trip to Wrigley. The Brewers are the only other team to win a series at the Cubs’ home this year, taking both trips they’ve made so far.
“We’ve played well here,” Lee said. “Sooner or later, we knew we were going to lose a series at home. Hopefully when we get back, we’ll start another streak.”
Baltimore (40-37) improved to 10-5 in interleague play and is 14-9 this month. Trembley was impressed with how his team bounced back from a loss Wednesday night.
“One thing about our team is we won’t back down,” he said. “We’re not intimidated. We have respect for the other team, but we also feel like if we do what we have to do, we’ll win.”
“The problems we have is that we’re all banged up,” Piniella said. “Outside of that, I’ve got no complaints.”
Marquis (6-4) gave up a season-high seven runs and seven hits in four innings for Chicago, which had won seven straight series at Wrigley. He had won his last four starts and hadn’t picked up a loss since May 13.
“I just wasn’t very good today,” Marquis said. “After the two innings, I started falling behind hitters, leaving too many pitches over the middle of the plate, and I put my team in a bad position.”
Radhames Liz (2-0) held the Cubs to four hits and two runs in five-plus innings. The highly touted rookie walked four and struck out four in just his fifth start this season.
“He’s young and has got a very good arm,” Trembley said. “I think there are moments where he will show you just what he’s all about. The main thing about him is he’s got a lot of poise. He’ll keep coming at you with his fastball. He’s not afraid to throw it.”
Baltimore scored all of its third-inning runs with two out. Marquis intentionally walked Nick Markakis with first base open, but then walked Kevin Millar to force in a run. Huff doubled down the right-field line to make it 3-0 and Payton added a two-run single.
“We took a chance walking Markakis to load the bases then he walks Millar and the floodgates open up,” Piniella said.
Markakis hit a two-run double in the fourth for the Orioles, who improved to 24-4 when they have at least 10 hits.
Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano (right shoulder strain) played catch before the game and said he should be ready to throw a bullpen session Sunday. He likely will be activated to start July 4 at St. Louis. … The Orioles placed RHP Matt Albers on the 15-day DL after he left his spot start Wednesday in the first inning with right shoulder inflammation. Baltimore recalled RHP Fernando Cabrera from Triple-A. … The Cubs have signed 26 players from the amateur draft, including two of their top five and seven of 10. … Piniella will replace fired Mets manager Willie Randolph on the NL staff at the All-Star game at Yankee Stadium next month. … Huff’s four hits tied a career high.