“He said, `I got your back today, skip.’ Exactly what he told me,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Saturday. “A couple of at-bats into it I was wondering, but he caught up in a hurry.”
Fox hit his first career grand slam and finished with a career-high five RBIs—all in his final two at-bats—to lead the Cubs to an 11-4 win over the New York Mets.
Fox has worked hard on his defense, so he can get a chance to do what he does best—swing the bat. He has played five positions this season, including catcher, and made the most of his playing time when called upon to start.
“Their biggest concern bringing me here was to be able to help them with my bat and not hurt them in the field,” Fox said. “I’ve proven to them that I’m not a liability in the field.”
“The pressure is on the pitcher because he has already gotten himself in a bad situation,” Fox said of his grand slam. “Whenever you are a guy who drives in runs, you’ve got to be able to come through in that situation.”
Chicago had 14 hits.
Milton Bradley(notes), who was 3 for 3 on Friday, got hits in his first three at-bats Saturday and finished 3 for 4 with a walk. Booed earlier in the week, Bradley is 11 for 20 with four walks during the first five games of the Cubs’ homestand.
“For me it felt like an average outing. But it is easy to be average when you score 11 runs,” Dempster said.
Trailing 4-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth, Chicago tied it on Aramis Ramirez’s(notes) RBI single. After Kosuke Fukudome(notes) walked to load the bases, Fox sent an 0-2 pitch into the left-field bleachers, his 10th homer of the season. Koyie Hill’s(notes) RBI double capped the six-run inning.
Parnell (3-7) gave up nine hits and eight runs in 4 2-3 innings. The right-hander has yielded 22 hits and 22 earned runs over his last three starts, a span of 12 2-3 innings.
“I made too many bad pitches and too many mistakes. It was a tough one to swallow and I’m just going to put it behind me,” Parnell said. “I know it’s going to be a process, a hard process. And there’s going to be some tough lessons learned. The only thing I want to do is keep the team in the game.”
Dempster gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases in the fourth before Brian Schneider(notes) lined a two-run double into the right-field corner. Fernando Tatis(notes) stopped after rounding third, then took off for the plate and was tagged out by Hill after a relay from shortstop Ryan Theriot(notes).
Chicago second baseman Mike Fontenot(notes) then made a nice diving stop on Anderson Hernandez’s(notes) grounder and kept the single from getting through to the outfield, saving another run and holding New York’s lead at 4-3.
In the third, Bradley doubled home Dempster, who drew a leadoff walk. Ramirez, who was supposed to have the day off to rest, put the Cubs ahead with a two-out double over Francoeur’s head in right field.
NOTES: Chicago’s Jeff Baker(notes) was scratched from the starting lineup after hurting a finger while fielding a grounder during batting practice. That’s why Ramirez was put in the lineup. X-rays revealed no fracture for Baker. He has a sprain. … Mets 3B David Wright(notes), on the disabled list with a concussion after being beaned Aug. 15, worked out with the team before the game and hopes to be activated Tuesday in Colorado.