A misjudged fly ball by Corey Patterson and a lack of clutch hitting Friday night sent the Cubs to a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Angels in the teams' first-ever meeting.
Anaheim starter John Lackey, who beat Dusty Baker's Giants in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, snapped a five-game winless streak with seven innings of two-run ball against an impatient Cubs offense.
Lackey came in with a 5.64 earned-run average, but the Cubs took only 28 of his 103 pitches for balls, swinging at almost everything he threw.
"He looked about the same, threw the same as he did [in Game 7]," Baker said. "It was a couple of years ago. I remember, but [the memory isn't] sharp."
Greg Maddux (5-5) pitched well, yielding three runs on seven hits over seven innings, but was denied his 295th career victory. With the loss, the Cubs dropped to 31-29 and into a fourth-place tie with Milwaukee in the bunched-up National League Central Division.
The Cubs led 2-1 in the fourth when Vladimir Guerrero singled, stole second and scored on Jose Guillen's RBI triple off the center-field wall. Patterson was in place to make the catch but watched the ball hit the wall only a foot or so from his outstretched glove.
"I thought we had a chance to get an out there," Baker said.
Casey Kotchman followed with a run-scoring single to right on a 3-2 pitch, giving Anaheim the lead for keeps. Maddux thought he had Guerrero struck out but wasn't complaining.
"That pitch probably just missed," he said. "I threw a pretty good pitch, and he got a base hit. That's the way it goes sometimes. They got the big hit, made the big pitch when they had to. We didn't."
The Cubs had one prime scoring opportunity in the sixth when Derrek Lee doubled and was bunted to third by Ramon Martinez.
But Paul Bako grounded out and Jose Macias struck out to end the threat.
"That's what happens in one-run games," Baker said. "These one-run games are killing us. It's tough to take a one-run loss."
The Cubs are now 6-11 in one-run games, a complete turnaround from last year, when they went 27-17 in that category.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times