|Chi. Cubs «||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||x||4||5||0|
CHICAGO -- Roger Clemens was breezing and then suddenly he was out of the game, forced to leave after five brilliant innings because of a groin injury. Without the Rocket, the Houston Astros couldn't hold on.
"It's more than a mild strain, but I know my body and I didn't tear it," Clemens said. "I'm OK. It's iced down and numb and we'll start treating it tomorrow."
Clemens had retired 10 straight batters before walking Enrique Wilson with two outs in the fifth.
Manager Phil Garner and a trainer then ran to the mound to talk with Clemens, who stayed in the game and got the final out of the inning.
"I think he'll be OK for his next start," Garner said after his team's seventh straight loss dropped the Astros to 2-21 on the road this season.
Jeromy Burnitz hit a two-run single with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth off Lidge (1-2), who threw two wild pitches and walked two in blowing the save.
"No excuse. It was very frustrating for me to go out there and blow it for him," Lidge said. "I just had trouble putting my slider in the strike zone."
Clemens allowed two singles, walked one, struck out six, lowered his major league-best ERA to 1.19 and extended his scoreless streak on the road this season to 26 innings.
"We kind of caught a break when Roger left with an injury. That's how we're looking at it," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He was throwing the ball very good."
Lidge replaced Qualls and had control problems immediately, throwing a wild pitch to move Hollandsworth to second and then walking Jerry Hairston.
After getting Neifi Perez to hit into a short-to-third forceout, Lidge walked Derrek Lee to load the bases. Burnitz then sent a single to right to give the Cubs the lead. Lee later scored on Lidge's second wild pitch of the inning.
"Everyone knows they've got a great staff from starters to relievers," Burnitz said. "And obviously that guy (Lidge) is lights out usually.
"I'm glad he wasn't on his game tonight. ... When the guy is struggling with his breaking ball and throwing some wild pitches, I need to make sure if I swing the bat, it's a good one."
Clemens hardly looked 42 years old when he hustled off the mound in the third inning to snap Perez's bunt and then threw him out at first from his knees.
Wearing short sleeves on a brisk 53-degree night and blowing on his right hand, the only hits Clemens allowed were a first-inning single to Perez and a single by Michael Barrett in the second.
Clemens said the groin began to first bother him in the third inning.
"Once I finished the fourth, (catcher) Brad (Ausmus) knew and I knew I had to locate and that 93, 94 mph wasn't going to happen," Clemens said.
"I made an adjustment and tried to get the fourth and the fifth over as quickly as possible."
The struggling Astros, who had scored just 16 runs in Clemens' previous nine starts, gave him a working margin with two runs in the fourth.
One out later, Lee, the first baseman, fielded Mike Lamb's chopper but his throw to the plate wasn't in time to get Self, who made a nice slide around Barrett.
|Jeromy Burnitz rips a two-run single in the eighth inning to give the Cubs the lead. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Willy Taveras, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.258|
|Todd Self, RF||2||1||0||0||1||0||1||.333|
|Craig Biggio, 2B||4||1||2||0||0||1||1||.299|
|Eric Bruntlett, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.100|
|Lance Berkman, LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||4||.179|
|Brad Lidge, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mike Lamb, 1B||4||0||0||1||0||0||0||.202|
|Morgan Ensberg, 3B||4||0||0||1||0||2||1||.292|
|Adam Everett, SS||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.221|
|Brad Ausmus, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.247|
|Roger Clemens, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.300|
|Dan Wheeler, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Jose Vizcaino, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.255|
|Chad Qualls, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Orlando Palmeiro, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.354|
|a-struck out for Wheeler in the 7th|
|2B - Willy Taveras (5, Ohman), Craig Biggio (15, Mitre), Adam Everett (13, Mitre)|
|SH - Todd Self (1)|
|RBI - Mike Lamb (18), Morgan Ensberg (22)|
|SB - Willy Taveras (15, 2nd base off Mitre/Barrett), Morgan Ensberg (4, 2nd base off Mitre/Barrett)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Dan Wheeler (H,2)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.47|
|Chad Qualls (H,4)||1.1||2||2||2||0||0||0||5.24|
|Brad Lidge (BS,2; L,1-2)||0.2||1||2||2||2||0||0||3.79|
|WP - Brad Lidge 2 (4)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Roger Clemens 68-0, Dan Wheeler 11-0, Chad Qualls 12-0, Brad Lidge 26-0|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roger Clemens 5-4, Chad Qualls 3-1, Brad Lidge 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Roger Clemens 18, Dan Wheeler 3, Chad Qualls 6, Brad Lidge 5|
|Jerry Hairston Jr., CF||3||1||0||0||1||1||0||.270|
|Ryan Dempster, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.077|
|Neifi Perez, SS||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.278|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||3||1||0||0||1||3||1||.344|
|Jeromy Burnitz, RF||4||0||1||2||0||0||1||.284|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.232|
|Michael Barrett, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.273|
|Jason Dubois, LF||3||1||1||0||0||2||1||.261|
|Corey Patterson, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.272|
|Enrique Wilson, 2B||2||0||0||0||1||0||2||.000|
|Sergio Mitre, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Will Ohman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Michael Wuertz, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Todd Hollandsworth, PH-LF||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.210|
|a-singled for Wuertz in the 8th|
|2B - Jason Dubois (6, Qualls)|
|RBI - Jeromy Burnitz 2 (26), Todd Hollandsworth (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jeromy Burnitz 2 (8)|
|SB - Neifi Perez (4, 2nd base off Clemens/Ausmus)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Perez-Wilson-Lee|
|Michael Wuertz (W,3-2)||0.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||4.57|
|Ryan Dempster (S,4)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||5.09|
|Pitches-Strikes - Sergio Mitre 108-0, Will Ohman 8-0, Michael Wuertz 8-0, Ryan Dempster 14-0|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sergio Mitre 13-3, Will Ohman 1-0, Ryan Dempster 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Sergio Mitre 27, Will Ohman 2, Michael Wuertz 2, Ryan Dempster 3|
|Attendance - 38805|
|Game Time - 2:33|
|Temperature - 53|
|Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - John Hirschbeck, Second Base - Kerwin Danley, Third Base - Jim Reynolds|