CINCINNATI -- Two walks, a wild pitch and a passed ball added up to one bad inning -- and one stunning loss -- for the Chicago Cubs.
Michael Barrett's passed ball let in the tiebreaking run during a wild seventh inning Thursday that helped the Cincinnati Reds rally for a 5-2 victory over the Cubs, who have invested a lot of money in their lineup and their rotation.
In this one, the bullpen let them down.
"The fact of the matter is, we're better than that," said reliever Will Ohman, who threw the slider that got away and changed the game. "We're going to win more than we lose."
Not in the opening series. The Reds took two of three by taking advantage of the Cubs' self-destruction in the final game.
"We've shown early in the season that we can come back like that," Reds starter Kyle Lohse said. "That's a pretty good start to the year right there."
Bob Howry (0-1) gave up Jeff Conine's pinch-single that tied the game with two outs in the seventh, then walked Ryan Freel to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Ohman came on to face Adam Dunn.
A wild pitch moved the runners up, and Ohman then threw the full-count slider that deflected off the end of Barrett's mitt and skittered to the backstop, allowing Conine to score from third easily.
Conine was ready to run the moment the ball eluded Barrett.
"He's already advanced us with a wild pitch, so it was definitely on my mind that he might come up with another one," Conine said. "With Adam up there, you know he's not going to throw a 3-2 fastball, so you've got to be alert."
There was plenty of blame to go around, and all three Cubs accepted a share.
"I hate walking guys," Howry said.
"That's on me," Ohman said. "If I don't throw the first wild pitch, he doesn't score."
"My job right there is to keep the ball in front of me, no matter what," Barrett said. "I didn't get the job done."
Scott Hatteberg added a two-run homer in the eighth off Scott Eyre, completing the comeback against a bullpen that didn't give up a run in the first two games of the series.
Victor Santos (1-0) pitched out of a threat in the seventh, and Mike Stanton induced pinch-hitter Ronny Cedeno to pop out with runners on second and third in the eighth. David Weathers recorded three outs for his first save.
The Cubs also hurt themselves with several base-running gaffes. Alfonso Soriano was picked off first base after his single in the seventh, undercutting a rally.
Both starters were solid, making it come down to the bullpens.
Jason Marquis, who led the NL in losses, runs and homers allowed last season with St. Louis, pitched six innings in his Cubs debut before turning a 2-1 lead over to the bullpen. It was the second game in a row that a newcomer impressed.
The Cubs are counting on Marquis and left-hander Ted Lilly -- two offseason free-agent acquisitions -- to get them through yet another spell without the oft-injured Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.
Lilly threw seven innings during a 4-1 victory over the Reds on Wednesday night, the Cubs' first under new manager Lou Piniella.
DeRosa, one of six free agents added to the Cubs' roster in the offseason, hit a solo homer in the second inning and added a single off Lohse. DeRosa is 6-for-8 career off the right-hander.
Ramirez is even better. He singled in each of his first two at-bats, and doubled home Matt Murton in the fifth inning for a 2-1 lead. Ramirez is 5-for-5 off Lohse with a homer and a double.
He also had three hits off Bronson Arroyo in the Cubs' victory on Wednesday night, and has opened the season on a 7-for-13 tear.
- It was 35 degrees with a few snowflakes at the first pitch.
- Chicago's Derrek Lee will wear No. 42 on April 15, honoring the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier. Each team is allowed to have a player were the number, which has been retired by baseball.
- Soriano had a hit in each of the three games, going 3-for-14 overall. Soriano received a $136 million, eight-year deal from the Cubs.
- Ken Griffey Jr. made his first error in right field since he was moved out of center. He also went 0-for-4.