|Chi. Cubs (73-71)||0||1||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||10||0|
|Houston (63-81) «||0||1||0||0||2||1||0||0||0||0||1||5||10||0|
HOUSTON -- The Chicago Cubs know they can't waste too many more chances like this.
Chicago blew a 4-1 lead, stranded 15 runners and squandered a bases-loaded threat in the 11th. The Cubs have lost four of six and fell one game behind Milwaukee, which beat Pittsburgh 6-1.
"We had some opportunities and didn't get it done," Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said. "That's a tough one to swallow."
The Astros ended a five-game losing streak and won for the fifth time in 13 games since Cecil Cooper replaced Phil Garner as manager on Aug. 27.
"We continue to play hard, that's all you can ask," Cooper said.
"I made a stupid pitch," Dempster said, without waiting for reporters to ask him a question. "I walked a guy, made a stupid pitch and lost the game."
With that, Dempster finished buttoning his shirt and left the clubhouse.
Unless they win the rest of their games, the Astros will finish with a losing record for just the second time since 1991.
"Any time you can win a game in extra innings, it's good, no matter where you are," Scott said. "We want to finish strong. We haven't lived up to expectations and we know it."
Mark DeRosa hit a three-run homer for the Cubs, who dropped to 2-8 in extra-inning games this season. Chicago has lost seven of 13 meetings with Houston.
"We're still in it," Lee said. "You've got to turn the page, come back and try to get them tomorrow."
The Cubs put two runners on with one out in both the eighth and ninth innings. Carlos Lee made a diving catch in left-center on Ryan Theriot's liner to end the first threat and DeRosa grounded into a double play to stall the second.
"We had some chances, we left some runners out there," Derrek Lee said. "They made some great defensive plays. We just didn't get it done."
Chicago reliever Bob Howry retired the six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth -- striking out four -- to force extra innings. Chicago's bullpen retired 13 straight Astros before Loretta walked in the 11th.
"These are big games for us," Howry said. "You'd love to be out and have a five- or seven-game lead and have a little leeway. We don't, but we've got guys who know what it takes to win. Now, we've just got to come out and do it."
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second when Jones singled and scored on Jason Kendall's double.
Scott singled in the second and moved up on a grounder and Jason Marquis' wild pitch. When another pitch skipped past Kendall - this one was ruled a passed ball - Scott scored to tie the game.
Backe, making his second start since a yearlong recovery from Tommy John surgery, retired the Cubs in order for the first time in the fifth inning. Humberto Quintero doubled in the Houston fifth, Jason Lane pinch-hit for Backe and singled, then lined a two-run triple to cut Chicago's lead to 4-3.
Carlos Lee led off the sixth with a single and Loretta hit a tying double.
|Luke Scott's triple wins it for the Astros in the 11th inning and hands the Cubs a painful loss. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Alfonso Soriano, LF||5||0||1||0||0||2||4||.293|
|Ryan Theriot, SS||4||0||0||0||2||1||4||.273|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||4||0||1||0||2||1||4||.314|
|Cliff Floyd, RF||3||1||2||0||1||0||1||.286|
|Felix Pie, PR-CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.212|
|a- Matt Murton, PH-RF||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.270|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||5||1||1||0||1||1||4||.319|
|Mark DeRosa, 2B||5||1||1||3||1||0||2||.287|
|Jacque Jones, CF-RF^CF||6||1||3||0||0||1||3||.275|
|Jason Kendall, C||2||0||1||1||1||0||0||.247|
|Jason Marquis, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.138|
|Carlos Marmol, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Daryle Ward, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.337|
|Sam Fuld, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Bob Howry, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Mike Fontenot, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.288|
|Ryan Dempster, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-walked for Pie in the 11th|
|b-was walked intentionally for Marmol in the 8th|
|c-struck out for Howry in the 10th|
|2B - Jason Kendall (20, Backe)|
|HR - Mark DeRosa (9, Backe)|
|SH - Felix Pie (2), Jason Kendall 2 (5)|
|RBI - Mark DeRosa 3 (68), Jason Kendall (41)|
|Team LOB - 15|
|Outfield Assists - Alfonso Soriano 1|
|PB - Jason Kendall (11)|
|Ryan Dempster (L,2-6)||1.1||1||1||1||1||0||0||3.88|
|WP - Jason Marquis (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jason Marquis 61-42, Carlos Marmol 34-25, Bob Howry 23-16, Ryan Dempster 17-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Marquis 10-4, Carlos Marmol 1-1, Bob Howry 2-0, Ryan Dempster 1-3|
|Batters Faced - Jason Marquis 23, Carlos Marmol 7, Bob Howry 6, Ryan Dempster 6|
|Hunter Pence, CF||5||0||2||2||0||1||0||.324|
|Craig Biggio, 2B||5||0||1||0||0||1||2||.252|
|Lance Berkman, 1B||5||0||0||0||0||0||3||.276|
|Carlos Lee, LF||5||1||1||0||0||1||1||.297|
|Mark Loretta, SS||4||0||1||1||1||0||0||.275|
|Eric Bruntlett, PR||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.240|
|Luke Scott, RF||5||1||2||1||0||2||1||.260|
|Ty Wigginton, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.279|
|Humberto Quintero, C||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.217|
|Brandon Backe, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Jason Lane, PH||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.180|
|Chris Sampson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.154|
|b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.240|
|Dave Borkowski, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chad Qualls, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Mike Lamb, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.289|
|Brad Lidge, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-singled for Backe in the 5th|
|b-grounded out for Sampson in the 6th|
|c-grounded out for Qualls in the 9th|
|2B - Craig Biggio (29, Marquis), Mark Loretta (23, Marquis), Humberto Quintero (2, Marquis)|
|3B - Hunter Pence (9, Marquis), Luke Scott (4, Dempster)|
|RBI - Hunter Pence 2 (58), Mark Loretta (35), Luke Scott (64)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Loretta-Berkman, Loretta-Biggio-Berkman|
|Brad Lidge (W,4-2)||2||1||0||0||3||2||0||2.82|
|IBB - Ward by Chad Qualls|
|HBP - Soriano (by Brandon Backe)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Backe 97-53, Chris Sampson 26-16, Dave Borkowski 16-10, Chad Qualls 19-10, Brad Lidge 45-26|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Backe 4-7, Dave Borkowski 1-1, Chad Qualls 3-2, Brad Lidge 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Brandon Backe 25, Chris Sampson 4, Dave Borkowski 4, Chad Qualls 9, Brad Lidge 10|
|Attendance - 33493|
|Game Time - 3:36|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Eric Cooper|