Skip to content
Night of blowups at Wrigley
Manager Lou Piniella was speechless Monday night after the Cubs blew a four-run lead in a 5-4, 12-inning loss to Milwaukee at Wrigley Field.
Piniella blew off his postgame interview session after Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry got into a loud and profane shouting match with the umpires in the tunnel leading to the Cubs' clubhouse.
A Cubs spokesman said Piniella decided to "take a pass" on meeting with reporters. Perry was also not made available to answer questions about his exchange, the second such incident between the Cubs and umpires in the last four days.
Friday it was Piniella who was involved in the postgame shouting match.
Crew chief Brian Gorman also declined to comment when asked to discuss the incident with a pool reporter. Gorman told an umpiring spokesman that the incident would be written up and sent to the Major League Baseball office in New York.
The Cubs were unhappy about Derrick Turnbow's game-ending strikeout of Mark DeRosa with the tying run on base, after Prince Fielder's solo home run off rookie Rocky Cherry had given Milwaukee the lead in the top of the 12th. DeRosa blamed plate umpire Paul Nauert for a faulty strike zone.
"If you look at the replay, the pitch is a ball," DeRosa said. "Derrick Turnbow is nasty enough. He doesn't need to be getting pitches like that.
"It's a shame that the guys battled all night and it comes down to a call like that."
After shuffling his outfield Monday with the return of Alfonso Soriano, Piniella's next trick may be to rearrange the back end of his bullpen.
Scott Eyre blew a two-run, eighth-inning lead, continuing a slump which began last August. After serving up a leadoff homer to Fielder and a game-tying single to Craig Counsell, Eyre's earned-run average rose to 15.00, and left-handed hitters are batting .500 against him.
"I'm having a tough time against anybody," Eyre said. "If I make a mistake, it gets hit. If I make good pitches, I get outs. But every mistake … I'm making quite a few right now.
"I've got to figure something out. I'm not helping anybody right now."
Eyre not only received an earful from Piniella during a mound conference, he was later booed after Counsell's hit.
It would've been worse had not Jacque Jones saved the Cubs with a diving catch in right with a runner on to end the inning. Brewers left fielder Geoff Jenkins one-upped Jones with a diving catch to rob Michael Barrett with two on to end the bottom of the eighth.
On a night when the temperature dropped nearly 20 degrees from late afternoon to game time, Carlos Zambrano also saw his performance plunge as time went on. Zambrano lasted only 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
After throwing nine pitches in the first inning and 12 in the second, Zambrano labored the rest of the way and wound up with 103 pitches in his short stint.
Still, Zambrano left with a 4-2 lead, thanks to a two-run first, an RBI double by Derrek Lee in the fourth and Aramis Ramirez's solo homer after Lee was called out trying to steal third.
Monday night's lineup included Soriano in left for the first time this year, Jones in center for the second time and Cliff Floyd in right for the first time since 2002.
"If we're going to get Floyd in the lineup, there's no short-center field here," Piniella said before the game. "What can we do?"
What can the Cubs do about their season-long funk? They fell to 7-12, and 3-8 at Wrigley.
"Like Lou said, everyone just needs to relax and start having fun again," DeRosa said. "We broke spring training really thinking we have a championship ballclub.
"If you went around and still asked that same question, to a man we think we do."