|San Diego «||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||4||7||2|
CHICAGO -- Mike Piazza is having a good time in Chicago.
"Just elation," Piazza said. "Any time you get a chance to come back, especially in a game that (Greg) Maddux is pitching so well -- we were fortunate."
Piazza wasn't celebrating afterward. He was calm, relaxed. He spoke softly.
He has hit clutch home runs before, and this one came a day after his first four-hit game in about a year. It also upstaged a fine performance by Maddux.
Mike Cameron led off the ninth with a single to center off Dempster, and Brian Giles followed with a base hit to right. Piazza then hit his fourth homer of the season and 401st of his career, pulling an 0-1 pitch over the left-field wall to make it 4-3 and send the Cubs to their 13th loss in 15 games.
The blown save was the first for Dempster (0-1) since July 24, 2005, at St. Louis. He had converted 26 straight, including his first seven opportunities this season.
"We played good baseball," Dempster said. "We played great defense. We pitched well. We moved guys over. Let's not let my one (crummy) inning say what the game was all about."
It was all about Maddux until Piazza's homer.
He allowed an unearned run in 7 1/3 innings, but stayed stuck in 15th place on baseball's all-time wins list with 323 -- one less than Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton. Maddux left to a standing ovation with two runners on and a run in. Scott Eyre relieved, and pinch hitter Eric O. Young grounded into a double play to preserve the lead temporarily.
Piazza simply was looking to keep the ball off the ground. And after a low cutter by Dempster, he got a hanging pitch.
"I didn't try to do too much with it," he said. "I just put the bat on the ball and hit it well enough. We'll take it."
Trevor Hoffman retired the side in the ninth for his seventh save in as many opportunities.
A Cubs offense that has sputtered since Derrek Lee went on the disabled list last month with broken bones in his wrist showed some life in the first inning.
Back in the lineup after a day off, Jacque Jones collected his 1,000th hit when he drove in Ronny Cedeno with a single up the middle with two out. With a .340 average in his previous 14 games, Jones has been one of the few productive hitters lately. The next batter, Jerry Hairston Jr., made it 2-0 with a bunt single down the third-base line that drove in Aramis Ramirez.
Maddux worked a nine-pitch first inning, allowing Cameron's double, and retired the Padres on seven in the second. The 15-time Gold Glove winner ended that inning by racing back for an over-the-shoulder stab of Adrian Gonzalez's chopper and firing to first.
It was vintage Maddux. He changed speeds, hit the corners. And the Padres looked like frustrated weekend golfers, lunging and flailing.
It was a big difference from Maddux's previous two starts against Arizona and San Diego, when he allowed a combined 12 runs in 8 2/3 innings and saw his ERA rise from 1.35 to 3.64.
Maddux was a thorn on offense, too.
He singled with two out in the fourth and then, in a strange play, stole second as Young prepared to deliver his first pitch to Juan Pierre. Young turned and threw to second, but Maddux slid under Josh Barfield's tag for his first steal since Aug. 6 at New York and the eighth of his career.
But afterward, his mind was on Dempster.
"I feel bad for Dempster," Maddux said. "I don't think anybody feels worse than he does."
|Mike Piazza's three-run dinger in the ninth inning negates 7 1/3 solid innings from Greg Maddux. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|San Diego Padres|
|Dave Roberts, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.294|
|a- Eric Young, PH-LF||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.209|
|Mike Cameron, CF||4||1||2||0||0||1||1||.269|
|Brian Giles, RF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.276|
|Mike Piazza, C||4||1||1||3||0||1||1||.253|
|Trevor Hoffman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Khalil Greene, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.217|
|Vinny Castilla, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||1||0||.241|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.230|
|Josh Barfield, 2B||3||0||2||1||0||0||0||.269|
|Chris Young, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.176|
|b- Paul McAnulty, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.000|
|Cla Meredith, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Josh Bard, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.233|
|a-grounded into a double play for Roberts in the 8th|
|b-walked for C. Young in the 8th|
|2B - Mike Cameron (5, Maddux)|
|HR - Mike Piazza (4, Dempster)|
|SH - Chris Young (2)|
|RBI - Mike Piazza 3 (12), Josh Barfield (10)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|E - Brian Giles (1, misplayed flyball), Cla Meredith (1, throwing error)|
|San Diego Padres|
|Cla Meredith (W,1-0)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Trevor Hoffman (S,7)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.29|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chris Young 100-67, Cla Meredith 9-8, Trevor Hoffman 14-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Young 4-14, Cla Meredith 1-1, Trevor Hoffman 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Chris Young 31, Cla Meredith 4, Trevor Hoffman 3|
|Juan Pierre, CF||4||0||0||0||1||0||1||.231|
|Ronny Cedeno, SS||4||1||1||0||0||3||0||.297|
|Todd Walker, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.286|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.220|
|Jacque Jones, RF||4||0||2||1||0||0||1||.273|
|Jerry Hairston Jr., LF||3||0||1||1||0||0||2||.267|
|Neifi Perez, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||0||3||.210|
|Henry Blanco, C||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.063|
|Greg Maddux, P||3||0||1||0||0||2||1||.167|
|Scott Eyre, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ryan Dempster, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- John Mabry, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.222|
|a-grounded out for Dempster in the 9th|
|2B - Neifi Perez (4, C. Young)|
|SH - Ronny Cedeno (7), Jerry Hairston Jr. (2)|
|RBI - Jacque Jones (17), Jerry Hairston Jr. (4)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jacque Jones (4), Jerry Hairston Jr. (1)|
|SB - Greg Maddux (1, 2nd base off C. Young/Piazza)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Ramirez-Walker|
|E - Jacque Jones (2, throwing error)|
|Scott Eyre (H,3)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.89|
|Ryan Dempster (BS,1; L,0-1)||1||3||3||3||0||1||1||3.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Greg Maddux 73-48, Scott Eyre 6-5, Ryan Dempster 20-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Greg Maddux 14-5, Scott Eyre 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Greg Maddux 27, Scott Eyre 1, Ryan Dempster 6|
|Attendance - 40095|
|Game Time - 2:17|
|Temperature - 46|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Knight, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Larry Poncino, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman|