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Cubs suffer a double loss
Tom Glavine received his automatic pass to the Hall of Fame on Sunday night at Wrigley Field, while the Cubs suffered a loss that could put a serious dent in their postseason dreams.
While Glavine earned his 300th victory in the New York Mets' 8-3 win over the Cubs, Alfonso Soriano suffered a right quad strain that could sideline him for a month.
Soriano pulled up between second and third on Ryan Theriot's third-inning single, and was in so much pain he hopped toward the third-base bag on his left foot before being thrown out by Mets center fielder Lastings Milledge.
"He's not going to be out there any time soon," manager Lou Piniella said. "He's probably going to be a minimum of two weeks and probably as long as a month."
There was no word on the results of Soriano's MRI, but his face told the whole story.
"It looked like he was in agony," Mark DeRosa said. "You don't like to see that."
Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez strained his left quad on Aug. 24, 2005, and missed the final five weeks of the season.
Soriano leads the team with 18 home runs and 74 runs scored, and his loss could be devastating.
"How devastating?" Piniella said. "A leadoff hitter, a valuable guy, he's leading our team in home runs. He's got a lot of energy. It's going to be a tough loss. We've just got to tough it out now, that's all."
Derrek Lee said Soriano's loss is much different than when Lee went down in April 2006 with a broken wrist, which basically ended the Cubs season.
"We're a whole different team [compared with] last year," Lee said. "We have so many veteran guys and I think we have a lot more talent on this team. We're a lot deeper.
"It hurts to lose a guy like Alfonso Soriano for any length of time, but we can't lean on that. We can't use it as an excuse. We're right in this, so we've got to keep it going."
Piniella wasn't sure whom the Cubs would call up to take Soriano's spot.
The big story nationally was Glavine's successful pursuit of No. 300. The veteran left-hander held the Cubs to two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings, becoming the first to win 300 since Greg Maddux did it with the Cubs in 2004, and tying Early Wynn and Lefty Grove for 21st place on the all-time win list.
Glavine said he was nervous before the game and "overwhelmed" by the reaction from fans who stayed to salute him afterward.
"I think I put a little more pressure on myself to try and get it done tonight," he said.
"Typical Tom Glavine outing," DeRosa said. "The home plate umpire was giving a little bit off the outside corner, and he just kept pumping right there."
Meanwhile, Cubs starter Jason Marquis had another off night, allowing five runs on nine hits, including four doubles, over 5 1/3 innings. Marquis put the Cubs in a 5-0 hole and they never recovered.
Marquis didn't talk after the game, and Piniella offered a brief and blunt assessment: "Marquis? He wasn't very sharp."
The Cubs are now 7-8 since July 21, slowing down after a sizzling 29-13 stretch that catapulted them into the race. They finished the homestand with a 3-4 record against the Phillies and Mets, their first losing homestand since going 1-5 from May 28 to June 3.
But the Cubs didn't lose any ground to Milwaukee, which blew a five-run ninth-inning lead on Sunday in an 8-6, 11-inning loss to the Phillies.
"The homestand was fine," Piniella said. "I mean, look, we're playing good baseball teams, No. 1. And No. 2, we're caught in this stretch of games with no days off, and today we rested our bullpen as much as I could. I've got to do it. ...
"We'd have liked to have done a little better, but we didn't. We didn't lose basically any ground, and we've just got to continue to play. Losing Soriano was the toughest thing about this homestand."