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Chicago Cubs stumble, lose 11-6 to Houston Astros
Ted Lilly joked before Tuesday night's game that Ryan Dempster never should have tried to imitate him when he jumped over the dugout fence three weeks ago and broke his big right toe.
"I tried to warn Ryan," Lilly said. "That was something [ Jason] Marquis and I were doing, and I tried to let Ryan know it was a thing that maybe just athletes should stick to. He desperately wanted to be part of that crowd, and it came back to haunt him, unfortunately.
"Maybe it will motivate him to try and take care of himself and be a little more agile. I don't know if it's in the cards for him, but I'll tell you one thing -- he can locate a fastball. That's more important than jumping over a fence."
But Dempster definitely was not in midseason form Tuesday night in his return from the disabled list, allowing six runs on nine hits in a five-inning stint.
The Cubs went on to lose 11-6 to Houston as their five-game winning streak was snapped before a crowd of 40,814 at Wrigley Field. They also fell into second place in the National League Central, a half-game behind the Cardinals, who routed the Dodgers 10-0.
"I felt good going into the game; I felt ready," Dempster said. "I just didn't do a very good job."
In his first start since July 2, Dempster put the Cubs in a 4-0 hole after three. He made a crucial mistake in the third.
Trailing 2-0, he threw wild to second on a potential double-play grounder instead of getting the easy out at home.
Catcher Koyie Hill was yelling at Dempster, who paid him no heed.
"I did hear him, and I think that's why I threw it in center field. When I went to throw to second, I heard 'home.' I should have known to go home. ... Bad baseball."
The Cubs caught a break when Roy Oswalt left with a lower back strain in the second, and they scored three off reliever Wesley Wright in the fourth to make it 4-3.
Dempster gave up a two-run homer to Miguel Tejada in the fifth before Kosuke Fukudome reached on a ground rule "inside-the-shirt" single leading off the bottom half. Astros reliever Jeff Fulchino fumbled a comebacker and watched it fall into his jersey. With a sheepish smile, Fulchino fished it out as Fukudome reached.
"How about that one?" manager Lou Piniella said. "When you think you've seen everything ..."
After Derrek Lee walked with one out, Aramis Ramirez's three-home run tied the game 6-6.
But Geoff Blum greeted Angel Guzman with a home run with two outs in the seventh, and they scored three more in the eighth.
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Up next Wed. vs. Astros, 1:20, WGN-Ch. 9