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St. Louis at Chicago

Lee's homer busts open tie ballgame in eighth inning

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- Derrek Lee gave the Chicago Cubs another reason why they should speed up negotiations on a contract extension.

Lee hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning to lead the Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

One day after saying he would break off negotiations for a contract extension until the offseason, Lee softened his stance before the game, but made the big statement with the homer in the eighth. Lee would be one of the most attractive free agents on the open market, but he has said he wants to remain in Chicago.

"This guy has emerged as one of the greats in this game," manager Dusty Baker said.

Michael Barrett had a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the seventh for the Cubs, who couldn't get anything going against NL Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter. The right-hander struck out nine in six shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk.

"I was glad he (Carpenter) was out of the game when I did have to pinch hit, to be honest with you," Barrett said. "I was watching him in the clubhouse, he was just hitting both sides of the plate."

Besides attacking both sides of the plate, Carpenter had all of his pitches working.

"I had pretty good sink on my fastball, my cutter was good, my breaking ball was good. I threw some real good changeups today. I got through that first (inning) and made pretty good pitches all day," Carpenter said.

Lee, who homered on Friday in the Cubs' home opener, greeted Cardinals reliever Brad Thompson (1-1) with a drive leading off the eighth. Lee's homer left Wrigley Field and landed on Waveland Avenue despite the wind blowing in.

Bob Howry (1-0) got two outs in the eighth and Ryan Dempster pitched the ninth for his first save of the season.

Trailing 2-0 in the seventh, the Cubs took advantage of the Cardinals bullpen. Matt Murton led off with a single off Josh Hancock. One out later, Barrett, pinch-hitting for Henry Blanco, hit Hancock's 3-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers to tie it at 2-2. It was Barrett's second pinch-hit homer of his career.

"I'll be thinking about it, but I want the ball again," said Hancock. "I just got behind him and he was looking fastball. I gave him a fastball to hit. The location was off, I didn't get ahead. I just didn't pitch today. I was trying to get it low, trying to put him on the ground. If he was going to get a swing on it, I wanted him to swing and hit it down."

Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano struggled on opening day, but settled down against the Cardinals. Zambrano coasted through the first five innings, but ran into trouble in sixth because of two key errors made behind him.

Zambrano walked Jim Edmonds with two outs in the sixth. During Scott Rolen's at-bat, Zambrano caught Edmonds jumping too early to second. Zambrano threw over to Derrek Lee at first, but Lee missed the throw and Edmonds advanced to third.

Rolen followed with a grounder to shortstop, but Ronny Cedeno's throw pulled Lee off first, allowing Edmonds to score. Yadier Molina added an RBI single to make it 2-0 Cardinals.

"I felt horrible about missing the ball. (Zambrano) threw it right at my chest and I just whiffed it. When the pitcher is pitching that well you don't want to make a mistake, then Michael Barrett picked us up with the big home run, so it felt good to hit the home run and put us back in the lead," Lee said.

Zambrano allowed two unearned runs in six innings and had five strikeouts. He gave up four hits and walked four.

"Boy, that was a great comeback victory, especially after we kind of gave it to them in the (sixth) inning with those two runs," Baker said.


  • Cubs general manager Jim Hendry agreed on a two-year contract extension through the 2008 season. One of his career highlights was trading for Lee in Nov. 2003.
  • Cardinals manager Tony La Russa got LF John Rodriguez in the lineup despite a sore left shoulder. Rodriguez entered the game 4-for-10 against Zambrano and went 2-for-3 against the Cubs starter on the day.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Chicago's Derrek Lee smacks this 1-1 offering in the eighth out of the stadium.  (AP)
Chicago's Derrek Lee smacks this 1-1 offering in the eighth out of the stadium. (AP)

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St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS5000001 .182
John Rodriguez, LF3020010 .500
    So Taguchi, LF-RF1000000 .111
   a- Juan Encarnacion, PH1000001 .211
Albert Pujols, 1B3000111 .294
Jim Edmonds, CF3100121 .158
Scott Rolen, 3B4100002 .300
Skip Schumaker, RF3020100 .357
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C4011012 .278
Aaron Miles, 2B3000110 .412
Chris Carpenter, P3000023 .200
    Josh Hancock, P0000000 .000
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
    Scott Spiezio, LF0000100 .000
a-popped out for Taguchi in the 9th
2B - John Rodriguez (1, Zambrano)
RBI - Yadier Molina (2)
2-OUT RBI - Yadier Molina (2)
SB - Jim Edmonds (1, 3rd base off Zambrano/Blanco)
CS - Skip Schumaker (1, 2nd base by Zambrano/Blanco)
Team LOB - 9
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter 6400190 3.27
Josh Hancock (BS,1) 0.2222001 6.75
Randy Flores 0.1000100 3.38
Brad Thompson (L,1-1) 1111211 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 97-63, Josh Hancock 14-7, Randy Flores 11-6, Brad Thompson 22-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 5-4, Brad Thompson 2-0
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 23, Josh Hancock 4, Randy Flores 2, Brad Thompson 6
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF3010100 .353
Todd Walker, 2B3000112 .364
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
    Neifi Perez, SS0000000 .571
Derrek Lee, 1B4131010 .462
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4000023 .188
Jacque Jones, RF3000132 .000
Matt Murton, LF3110100 .267
Ronny Cedeno, SS4010003 .429
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .000
Henry Blanco, C2000011 .000
   a- Michael Barrett, PH-C2112002 .267
Carlos Zambrano, P2000020 .000
    Scott Williamson, P0000000 .000
   b- Angel Pagan, PH1000000 .500
    Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B00000001.000
a-homered for Blanco in the 7th
b-flied out for Williamson in the 7th
2B - Ronny Cedeno (3, Carpenter)
HR - Derrek Lee (3, Thompson), Michael Barrett (1, Hancock)
RBI - Derrek Lee (6), Michael Barrett 2 (5)
SB - Derrek Lee (1, 2nd base off Carpenter/Molina)
Team LOB - 8
E - Ronny Cedeno 2 (2, Misplayed grounder), Derrek Lee (2, Missed catch)
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Zambrano 6420450 4.22
Scott Williamson 1000010 3.86
Will Ohman 0.1000010 0.00
Bob Howry (W,1-0) 0.2100010 0.00
Ryan Dempster (S,1) 1000100 0.00
IBB - Miles by Carlos Zambrano
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 111-65, Scott Williamson 10-7, Will Ohman 6-4, Bob Howry 18-12, Ryan Dempster 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 9-5, Ryan Dempster 2-1
Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 27, Scott Williamson 3, Will Ohman 1, Bob Howry 3, Ryan Dempster 4
Game Information
Attendance - 40182
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 40
Umpires - Home - Dale Scott, First Base - Terry Craft, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Ron Kulpa