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Bullpen loses lead, game for Cubs
Dipping into the Cubs bullpen is literally like picking your poison.
No matter which way manager Lou Piniella goes, it somehow come back to bite him.
The Los Angeles Dodgers bounced back from a three-run eighth-inning deficit Friday night, scoring four runs in the bottom of the inning to snatch a 9-8 victory from the Cubs before 46,011 at Dodger Stadium.
The Cubs weren't feeling sorry for their manager after once again blowing a game they had in the palm of their hands.
"He doesn't want anybody feeling sorry for him," Cliff Floyd said. "For the most part, we're in this together. If anything, we should feel sorry for all of us.
"I won't say it's a long season because, heck, we're [almost] 50 games in. Things have got to turn. Not if. Things have got to turn around for us, and hopefully they will soon."
The Cubs battled back from an early five-run deficit and scored seven runs in the seventh to take a three-run lead. But that was before Bob Howry, Will Ohman and Angel Guzman allowed four runs in the eighth to put the Cubs behind the 8-ball again.
"Obviously, it stinks," said Ohman, who was hung with the loss. "We put together a great inning, go ahead, get some momentum and couldn't get the outs. You've just got to hold guys down. That's about it."
An unusually sedate Piniella said he was "happy" his team had fought back before the bullpen coughed it back up.
"Everything was OK for seven innings, and then it got a little out of hand there in the eighth," he said. "What are you going to do? We scored off their bullpen. They scored off ours."
Trailing 5-1 in the seventh, the Cubs scored seven runs on eight hits off Derek Lowe and three relievers. The Cubs have scored six or more runs in an inning four times in their last 13 games, including a pair of seven-run innings in the last week against the White Sox and Dodgers.
"A lot of great things happened in that inning," Michael Barrett said. "A tough loss altogether."
Ted Lilly, who turned in his worst performance in a Cubs uniform, got a no-decision as he allowed five runs on six hits and a season-high four walks in 461/37 innings.
Jeff Kent's two-run homer in the third and two-run double in the fifth gave the Dodgers a 5-0 lead, prompting Lilly's early exit.
But the Cubs pulled within a run in the seventh on a two-run double by Alfonso Soriano and an RBI double by Mark DeRosa before Derrek Lee tied it with a double off Jonathan Broxton.
When Lee got picked off second for the second out, it looked like the Cubs had to be satisfied with a four-run inning. But consecutive singles by Aramis Ramirez, Floyd and Barrett gave the Cubs the lead before Jacque Jones doubled home another run, chasing Broxton.
The final run of the inning came around on a throwing error by Dodgers third baseman Tony Abreu on Cesar Izturis' grounder, making it 8-5.
Michael Wuertz threw a scoreless five-pitch seventh, but Piniella replaced him with Howry to start the eighth. Howry gave up three straight singles to load the bases before Olmedo Saenz singled off Ohman to cut the deficit to two runs.
"He gets paid to hit, and he got me," Ohman said. "Unfortunately, I get paid to get outs, and I didn't get any."
Guzman threw a wild pitch on his first delivery to make it a one-run game, then walked Andy LaRoche to load the bases again. Rafael Furcal singled past a pulled-in infield to tie it, and Juan Pierre's sacrifice fly brought home Brady Clark with the go-ahead run.
"It's a tough game to lose, but what are you gonna do?" Piniella said. "Nobody's trying to give it to 'em."