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Chicago Cubs lose 4-3 in 12 innings to Philadelphia Phillies
On Sunday, the Cubs found a way to lose to the Rockies despite knocking out 17 hits.
They managed to one-up themselves Tuesday night, losing 4-3 in 12 innings to the Phillies despite giving up only three hits.
Ben Francisco's home run off Kevin Gregg proved to be the game-winner in the 12th after Milton Bradley sent the game into extra innings with a game-tying single in the ninth.
"A 2-1 slider, right at the bottom edge of the zone," Gregg said. "That's where we try to make our living. He just happened to hit it in the basket."
On a night that featured five perfect innings from Rich Harden, the first video replay at Wrigley Field and yet another walkathon by Carlos Marmol, the Cubs wound up stranding 12 baserunners in their fifth loss in the last six games.
"We're kind of shooting ourselves in the foot a little bit," Bradley said. "We didn't take care of the baseball very well in Colorado, myself the main culprit. Tonight we had the lead, and just gave them a run [in the eighth] and fell short. They're the world champs over there, so you have to take advantage of everything."
Harden was perfect through five and pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, but he walked away with a no-decision. Marmol suffered another meltdown in the eighth, walking Ryan Howard on four pitches to force in the go-ahead run after he had loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a hit batter.
"It has been a problem for him," manager Lou Piniella said. "He gets out of it most of the time, but I told him, 'You have to throw strikes.' "
Piniella got upset with an Internet reporter who asked if he was "frustrated" by the loss, asking: "You want to manage and lose five out of six, and see how you feel? You come up here and sit here and let me ask you the questions and see what your emotions are."
Harden retired the first 16 men he faced and still maintained a no-hitter with two outs in the sixth, leading 2-0. After a one-out walk, Jimmy Rollins spoiled Harden's no-hitter with a two-out, two-run homer, tying the game and spoiling the no-hit bid.
"One mistake," Harden said. "Not what I wanted to throw. ... Same thing he did to me in Philly."
Piniella removed Harden after the seventh, though he had thrown only 87 pitches and allowed two hits and four baserunners overall.
"That's when he goes," Piniella said. "We go to our short people, and we had a lead. Marmol looked like he had an easy inning going, and couldn't throw strikes."
As for Gregg, he now has served up 11 home runs this season, the most of any National League reliever. It has been his Achilles' heel all year, and even though he was satisfied with the pitch to Francisco, the home run totals are jarring.
"Of course, you want to keep the ball in the ballpark," he said. "Obviously, it's not happening for me. I think that's more home runs than I've given up in three or four years combined. But I have to keep plugging away at it and find a way to stop it."
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Up next Wednesday vs. Phillies,
7:05 p.m., WGN-Ch. 9