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Chi. Cubs (70-65) «00100212x680

Lee's go-ahead shot in eighth lifts Cubs over Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- Before Derrek Lee even had a chance to look at the big, old-fashioned scoreboard at Wrigley Field, a helpful Cubs fan let him know what he needed to do.

Lee drove in three runs, including a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, and NL Central-leading Chicago rallied to beat the Houston Astros 6-5 on Sunday.

Trailing 5-4 and with the Brewers and Cardinals already in the win column, Alfonso Soriano singled off Astros reliever Chad Qualls (6-4) and with two outs, Lee homered on an 0-1 pitch to left-center field to cap a four-run comeback by the Cubs.

"Actually a fan yelled at me and told me Milwaukee and St. Louis had won. So I was aware of it," said Lee, who came out of the dugout for a curtain call after his home run. "At this point in time, you don't want to lose games in the standings and you don't want to lose series."

Carlos Marmol (5-1) recorded one out in the eighth inning and Ryan Dempster pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save for the Cubs, who remained 1½ games ahead of the Brewers in the division. Cubs center fielder Jacque Jones also made a diving catch with two outs on Mark Loretta's drive to left-center with a runner on second in the eighth inning

"What a huge win," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "That's our biggest of the year. Clutch, clutch by Mr. Lee. We talked the other day about the big guys getting going in crunch time and boy, it's September and they have gotten going."

Lee also hit a solo shot in the eighth inning of Saturday's 4-3 win.

Lance Berkman homered for the Astros, who lost two of three to the Cubs.

The Astros led 5-1 when Jason Kendall hit what looked to be a routine double play ball to shortstop Eric Bruntlett in the sixth inning. But Bruntlett dropped the bouncer, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Reliever Mark McLemore then walked pinch-hitter Craig Monroe to load the bases, and Soriano followed with a sacrifice fly off Dave Borkowski.

Ryan Theriot followed with an RBI single to cut the Astros' lead to 5-3.

Borkowski limited the damage by getting Aramis Ramirez on a called strike to end the inning. Ramirez slammed his helmet and was immediately ejected by plate umpire Tony Randozzo after saying a few words to him.

Pinch-hitter Matt Murton led off the seventh with a homer off reliever Trever Miller.

"It was just a good feeling to finally come back," Lee said. "We just kept scratching and clawing. It seemed like we were never going to get there, but we were able to get some runners on base, score the runs and Dempster came in and did a good job of closing it down and we win the series. We didn't want to lose the series. That would've hurt a little bit."

Hunter Pence led off the game with a walk. One out later, Berkman homered off Rich Hill, who threw 34 pitches in the inning.

Astros starter Woody Williams singled in the third, and Pence followed with a liner past shortstop Theriot that rolled all the way to the warning track for an RBI double.

Ty Wigginton drove a ball into left in the fifth inning that Soriano leaped for near the ivy. But he mistimed his jump and the ball bounced off the wall, allowing Berkman to score from first. With two outs, Bruntlett tested Soriano with another deep fly that fell for a double, scoring Wigginton and making it 5-1.

The Cubs scored in the third inning when Wigginton couldn't handle Lee's hard grounder at third. Theriot, who walked, stole second and took third on catcher Eric Munson's throwing error, scored on the play.

"I know they feel good about themselves over there but today was a tough one to swallow," Astros interim manager Cecil Cooper said. "We gifted them one in the third inning. It's the second day in a row that we've kind of given them a run and we need to tighten up our defense. I'm a little disappointed in that. I know it's not the best place to play defense, I know that. so we'll straighten that out."


  • Piniella decided he will skip LHP Sean Marshall's next turn in the starting rotation. RHP Steve Trachsel, acquired in a trade from the Orioles on Friday, will take Marshall's spot. Trachsel will start on Tuesday against the Dodgers.
  • Warnings were issued to both benches after Hill hit Berkman with a pitch in the fifth inning. Lee and Kendall were hit earlier in the game by Williams.
  • Dempster has converted 13 consecutive save chances.
  • Murton hit his second pinch-hit homer of the season.
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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Derrek Lee receives accolades from some Wrigley fans after hitting a go-ahead two-run homer.  (AP)
Derrek Lee receives accolades from some Wrigley fans after hitting a go-ahead two-run homer. (AP)

Players of the Game

D. Lee
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1

L. Berkman
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1

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Houston Astros
Hunter Pence, CF3111200 .322
Craig Biggio, 2B4000023 .253
    Mark McLemore, P0000000 .000
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Luke Scott, RF1000010 .255
Lance Berkman, 1B3212110 .278
Carlos Lee, LF4000003 .301
Ty Wigginton, 3B4121010 .276
Chris Burke, RF-2B3000111 .221
Eric Bruntlett, SS3011122 .240
Eric Munson, C4000002 .248
Woody Williams, P2110000 .091
   a- Josh Anderson, PH-RF1000010 .000
   b- Mark Loretta, PH1000001 .274
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Williams in the 6th
b-flied out for Anderson in the 8th
2B - Hunter Pence (27, Hill), Ty Wigginton (26, Hill), Eric Bruntlett (5, Hill)
HR - Lance Berkman (27, Hill)
RBI - Hunter Pence (53), Lance Berkman 2 (88), Ty Wigginton (59), Eric Bruntlett (13)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Bruntlett (9)
SB - Hunter Pence (9, 2nd base off Hill/Kendall), Ty Wigginton (3, 2nd base off Hill/Kendall), Eric Bruntlett (6, 2nd base off Eyre/Kendall)
Team LOB - 7
E - Eric Bruntlett (7, Misplayed grounder), Eric Munson (2, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Woody Williams 5411340 4.95
Mark McLemore0021200 3.51
Dave Borkowski (H,7) 1100010 5.11
Trever Miller (H,11) 1111011 4.93
Chad Qualls (BS,5; L,6-4) 1222011 3.14
HBP - Lee (by Woody Williams), Kendall (by Woody Williams)
Pitches-Strikes - Woody Williams 96-61, Mark McLemore 14-4, Dave Borkowski 18-14, Trever Miller 15-11, Chad Qualls 15-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Woody Williams 6-5, Mark McLemore 1-0
Batters Faced - Woody Williams 24, Mark McLemore 3, Dave Borkowski 4, Trever Miller 4, Chad Qualls 5
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF4121010 .295
Ryan Theriot, SS4111102 .280
Derrek Lee, 1B4133002 .312
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3010124 .318
    Mike Fontenot, 2B1000000 .282
Cliff Floyd, RF2000114 .284
   a- Matt Murton, PH-RF1111000 .274
    Felix Pie, CF0000000 .211
Mark DeRosa, 2B-3B4000003 .284
Jacque Jones, CF-RF3100120 .268
Jason Kendall, C3100000 .248
Rich Hill, P2000001 .135
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
   b- Craig Monroe, PH0000100 .222
    Kerry Wood, P0000000 .000
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
   c- Eric Patterson, PH1000010 .143
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .000
a-homered for Floyd in the 7th
b-walked for Wuertz in the 6th
c-struck out for Marmol in the 8th
2B - Alfonso Soriano (32, Williams)
HR - Derrek Lee (17, Qualls), Matt Murton (6, Miller)
SF - Alfonso Soriano (3)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (44), Ryan Theriot (40), Derrek Lee 3 (72), Matt Murton (17)
2-OUT RBI - Derrek Lee 3 (25)
SB - Ryan Theriot (24, 3rd base off Williams/Munson)
Team LOB - 10
Chicago Cubs
Rich Hill 5655451 3.84
Michael Wuertz 1000020 3.71
Kerry Wood 1.1000100 2.84
Scott Eyre 0.1000000 4.98
Carlos Marmol (W,5-1) 0.1000000 1.46
Ryan Dempster (S,25) 1000020 3.33
HBP - Berkman (by Rich Hill)
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Hill 108-65, Michael Wuertz 14-8, Kerry Wood 22-11, Scott Eyre 8-5, Carlos Marmol 2-1, Ryan Dempster 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Hill 4-6, Michael Wuertz 1-0, Ryan Dempster 1-0
Batters Faced - Rich Hill 26, Michael Wuertz 3, Kerry Wood 5, Scott Eyre 1, Carlos Marmol 1, Ryan Dempster 3
Game Information
Attendance - 41415
Game Time - 3:05
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Larry Vanover