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Chicago at Houston

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Chi. Cubs (28-17) «0003001127140
Houston (25-21)000110000270

Soto robbed, but still gets inside-the-park homer; Cubs topple 'Stros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Geovany Soto didn't get the automatic home run he deserved. Cubs manager Lou Piniella thinks he probably likes it that way.

Soto was credited with an inside-the-park three-run homer in the fourth inning despite replays showing that it should have been an automatic home run in Chicago's 7-2 win over Houston on Monday night.

The ball bounced just to the right of the yellow line on the wall in left-center field.

"It was a home run, but I think he'd probably rather have the inside-the-park home run anyway," Piniella said.

Astros center fielder Michael Bourn scooped it up and threw it home, but Soto scored easily before the throw got there.

"Never in my whole life had I had an inside-the-park home run," Soto said. "I didn't think it was out. It's so big that left-center area I didn't think I hit it over it. I thought double, maybe triple if they misplayed it."

Aramis Ramirez singled and Kosuke Fukudome walked before the hit. Ramirez added an indisputable two-run homer to the back row of the stands in the left-field Crawford Boxes in the ninth inning.

Third-base umpire Ed Rapuano defended his call.

"The ball hit the yellow line that designates home run, no home run," he said.

When asked if there was any question in his mind when he made the call, he said: "No. I called what I saw."

It was the second consecutive night that major league umpires botched a home run call. New York Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado was robbed of a three-run homer Sunday night. Delgado's ball was originally ruled a home run but the call was reversed, turning it into a long foul ball. The replay of that play showed it should have been a home run.

Delgado ended up with an RBI single.

Soto's was the first inside-the-park home run for a catcher since Joe Mauer of the Twins hit one against the Angels on July 21 according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The last National League catcher to achieve the feat was Kelly Stinnett for Arizona on Aug. 29, 2005.

It's been almost 49 years since a Cubs catcher hit an inside-the-park homer, dating back to Cal Neeman's hit on June 17, 1959 against Pittsburgh's Harvey Haddix.

It's the first one for the Cubs since Derrek Lee hit one on Aug. 26 and the third in Minute Maid Park history.

The win is Chicago's ninth in the last 11 and puts the Cubs at 11 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2004 season at 16 over.

Astros starter Brian Moehler (1-1) allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings.

Ty Wigginton dived for, but missed Ryan Theriot's hard-hit grounder down the third-base line in the seventh inning for a double. He scored on a single by Lee to push Chicago's lead to 4-2.

Ted Lilly (5-4) allowed four hits and two runs with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings for his fourth consecutive win. He didn't allow a hit until a double by Miguel Tejada with one out in the fourth inning.

Tejada stole third base and scored on a single by Carlos Lee that made it 3-1. Jim Edmonds chased a fly ball by Hunter Pence to the back of Tal's Hill in center field to end the inning.

"What a great play, going up that hill, keeping your balance, keeping your concentration and gloving it," Piniella said. "That's as fine a play as a center fielder can make."

Theriot had a run-scoring single in the eighth inning to make it 5-2.

The Cubs were able to shut down Houston's hottest hitters on Monday, breaking Lance Berkman's 17-game hitting streak and the career-high 16-game one by Pence. Both were 0-for-4 and Berkman struck out three times.

Chicago's Mark DeRosa tallied two hits on Monday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, leaving him just one shy of his career mark.

The Astros had a chance to cut the lead in the eighth. Bourn singled before stealing second base. Kazuo Matsui followed with a single that sailed just over the glove of a leaping Derrek Lee.

Michael Wuertz was replaced by Carlos Marmol after Matsui's hit.

Marmol pitched out of trouble with three consecutive outs. Tejada popped out, Berkman struck out swinging and Carlos Lee was out at first.

"Marmol did a heck of a job, but he's been doing that all year," Piniella said. "He was outstanding."

Notes

  • Astros ace Roy Oswalt, who left his last start in the seventh inning with a hip injury, was examined by team physician Dr. David Lintner on Monday and is expected to make his next start on Thursday.
  • The Cubs placed RHP Chad Fox on the 15-day disabled list on Monday night after he experienced numbness in his hand throwing before the game. Jose Ascanio was called up from Triple-A Iowa to take his place on the roster.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Geovany Soto looks gassed. Kosuke Fukudome enjoys a chuckle over his teammate's homer sprint. (AP)
Geovany Soto looks gassed. Kosuke Fukudome enjoys a chuckle over his teammate's homer sprint. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

G. Soto
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Chicago

A. Ramirez
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF4000123 .287
Ryan Theriot, SS5121004 .333
Derrek Lee, 1B5121010 .292
Aramis Ramirez, 3B5232001 .285
Kosuke Fukudome, RF4120100 .319
Geovany Soto, C5113014 .317
Jim Edmonds, CF5010001 .182
Mark DeRosa, 2B4120000 .306
Ted Lilly, P2010010 .267
    Jon Lieber, P0000000 .000
   a- Ronny Cedeno, PH0000100 .324
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
Totals39714735  
a-walked for Lieber in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Theriot (9, Nieve), Derrek Lee (12, Borkowski)
HR - Aramis Ramirez (7, Borkowski), Geovany Soto (9, Moehler)
SH - Ted Lilly (5)
RBI - Ryan Theriot (13), Derrek Lee (30), Aramis Ramirez 2 (29), Geovany Soto 3 (33)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Theriot (5)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Theriot-DeRosa-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Ted Lilly (W,5-4) 5.1422260 5.14
Jon Lieber (H,2) 1.2100000 3.38
Michael Wuertz0200000 3.18
Carlos Marmol (H,12) 1000010 1.55
Bob Howry 1000020 5.96
Pitches-Strikes - Ted Lilly 96-62, Jon Lieber 15-11, Michael Wuertz 8-6, Carlos Marmol 13-6, Bob Howry 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ted Lilly 4-6, Jon Lieber 2-2, Carlos Marmol 1-1
Batters Faced - Ted Lilly 22, Jon Lieber 5, Michael Wuertz 2, Carlos Marmol 3, Bob Howry 3
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4021000 .200
Kazuo Matsui, 2B3010110 .292
Miguel Tejada, SS4110015 .342
Lance Berkman, 1B4000034 .389
Carlos Lee, LF4021002 .286
Hunter Pence, RF4000012 .282
Ty Wigginton, 3B4110010 .217
Brad Ausmus, C4000011 .207
Brian Moehler, P1000010 .000
   a- Jose Cruz Jr., PH0000100 .122
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .333
    Fernando Nieve, P0000000 .000
   b- Darin Erstad, PH1000000 .308
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000 .000
Totals3327229  
a-walked for Moehler in the 5th
b-popped out for Nieve in the 7th
Batting
2B - Miguel Tejada (14, Lilly), Ty Wigginton (4, Lilly)
RBI - Michael Bourn (8), Carlos Lee (32)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Lee (10)
SB - Michael Bourn (19, 2nd base off Wuertz/Soto), Kazuo Matsui (10, 2nd base off Marmol/Soto), Miguel Tejada (3, 3rd base off Lilly/Soto)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Michael Bourn 1
Houston Astros
Brian Moehler (L,1-1) 5733211 4.76
Tim Byrdak 1000010 0.00
Fernando Nieve 1311010 3.38
Wesley Wright 0.1111100 4.60
Dave Borkowski 1.2322021 4.50
IBB - Soriano by Brian Moehler
WP - Brian Moehler (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Moehler 95-60, Tim Byrdak 9-7, Fernando Nieve 27-15, Wesley Wright 16-9, Dave Borkowski 21-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Moehler 9-5, Tim Byrdak 1-1, Fernando Nieve 1-1, Wesley Wright 1-0, Dave Borkowski 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Moehler 24, Tim Byrdak 3, Fernando Nieve 6, Wesley Wright 3, Dave Borkowski 7
Game Information
Attendance - 32458
Game Time - 3:19
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Ed Rapuano