Chicago at New York

Scoreboard
Chi. Cubs (96-61) «01004010039150
N.Y. Mets (87-71)0050000100681

Mets fail to close out Cubs, lose game -- and ground in playoff race

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

NEW YORK -- The clubhouse was quiet, eerily like last year. The New York Mets kept trying to comprehend another brutal loss, one that left them tumbling toward another September collapse.

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"When tomorrow comes, hopefully the sun comes up," manager Jerry Manuel said. "It might not."

In the type of game that could mean lights out for the season, the score alone didn't detail the agony of the Mets' 9-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

They wasted Carlos Delgado's third-inning grand slam off Carlos Zambrano and a 5-1 lead. Then, they had runners at third base with no outs in each of the last three innings and got only one run out of it -- on a bases-loaded walk.

Having squandered their chances, the Mets watched in disgust as Derrek Lee blooped a go-ahead double in the 10th inning off Luis Ayala and Aramis Ramirez followed with a two-run homer.

New York dropped into a tie for the wild-card lead with Milwaukee and remained 1½ games behind Philadelphia in the NL East.

Last year, after opening a seven-game division lead with 17 games to play, the Mets dropped into a tie for a playoff position with three games remaining. They've lost four of five and have four games left, so they're one game ahead of last season's pace for futility.

It's hard to conceive of a more demoralizing defeat. Many in the booing crowd of 54,416 quickly filed out following Ramirez's homer.

"It's a, as everybody knows, a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately town, and lately we haven't gotten the job done," David Wright said. "So there's a lot of frustration. There's frustration with the fans, there's frustration in the stands, there's frustration in the dugout."

Following Daniel Murphy's leadoff triple in the ninth off Bob Howry (7-4), Wright could have won it. He took three consecutive balls, fouled off a pitch, then swung through the next two. Delgado and Carlos Beltran were intentionally walked to bring up Ryan Church, who grounded meekly to Ronny Cedeno. The second baseman, playing in, threw home for the forceout. Ramon Castro struck out on three pitches.

"It takes a toll on you, there's no doubt about it," Wright said. "Mentally, physically, it beats you up. The positive thing is if we can get into the playoffs, I think we're going to be more mentally tough than any team in the playoffs if we can get in, just because of the ups and downs and all the late-inning drama that we've had this year."

For the eighth time this season, the Mets failed to win after taking a four-run lead, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"This is not what we scripted," Delgado said. "But definitely we have a group of guys that can fight, and we're going to fight. We've got to come out tomorrow and we've got to fight."

Mohawk-coiffed New York starter Oliver Perez was chased after 4 1/3 innings and 105 pitches. The Cubs tied the score at 5 off Duaner Sanchez, with the help of an error by Murphy in left, then went ahead on Alfonso Soriano's RBI double in the seventh against Brian Stokes.

New York stranded seven runners in the seventh through ninth innings. The Mets failed to score after putting runners at the corners with no outs in the seventh, then got only one run -- on Jeff Samardzija's bases-loaded walk to Ramon Martinez -- after putting runners at the corners with no outs in the eighth. The ninth was even worse.

"That's bad. That's bad. That's bad," Manuel said.

Ryan Theriot singled with two outs in the 10th off Ayala (2-10) and stole second. Lee dumped a double down the right-field line to bring up Ramirez.

Kerry Wood pitched a perfect 10th for his 34th save in 40 chances, giving the Cubs 96 victories for the first time since 1984.

"Guys still want to go out and win games," said Mark DeRosa, who had a home run and three RBI before leaving the game in the fifth inning because of a strained left calf. He said he should be ready by the time the playoffs start next Wednesday.

Since pitching a no-hitter against Houston on Sept. 14 in his return from a sore rotator cuff, Zambrano has allowed 13 runs, nine hits and seven walks in six innings. He muttered and glared at plate umpire Jim Wolf in the third inning after his 3-2 pitch to Wright with the bases loaded was called low and outside.

"I gave it mixed reviews," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "He's healthy. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. He's rusty."

Given a 1-0 lead on DeRosa's second-inning home run, Zambrano lost his control and composure in the third, when he walked Wright the bases loaded and Delgado sent a high 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall for his second slam this season and the 13th of his career. Following a dismal start, Delgado has 27 home runs and 79 RBI since June 27.

"It was just one bad pitch to a good hitter," Zambrano said.

Perez gave up a two-run double to DeRosa in the fifth, and Reed Johnson singled. When Murphy overran the ball for an error, pinch-runner Kosuke Fukudome came home with the tying run.

"At this juncture, probably our toughest defeat," Manuel said. "No question."

Note

  • The Mets moved Monday into their new offices at Citi Field, where the team will play its first regular-season game April 14.
 
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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COMMENTS
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The Cubs' Ryan Theriot scores the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, thanks to a double by Derrek Lee.  (AP)
The Cubs' Ryan Theriot scores the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, thanks to a double by Derrek Lee. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

C. Delgado
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
Chicago

M. DeRosa
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 

Related Video

Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF5021110 .285
    Felix Pie, CF0000000 .247
Ryan Theriot, SS6230003 .304
Derrek Lee, 1B3211301 .293
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3222311 .289
Mark DeRosa, RF3123003 .285
    Kosuke Fukudome, PR-RF3100003 .260
Reed Johnson, CF-LF5021030 .308
Ronny Cedeno, 2B5100012 .269
Henry Blanco, C3020000 .289
   a- Micah Hoffpauir, PH1010000 .333
    Kevin Hart, P0000000 .000
    Jeff Samardzija, P0000000 .000
   b- Jim Edmonds, PH1000010 .235
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
    Kerry Wood, P0000000 .000
Carlos Zambrano, P3000013 .341
    Neal Cotts, P0000000 .000
   c- Daryle Ward, PH1000002 .219
    Koyie Hill, C1000000 .154
Totals43915878  
a-singled for Blanco in the 7th
b-struck out for Samardzija in the 9th
c-popped out for Cotts in the 7th
Batting
2B - Alfonso Soriano (27, Stokes), Derrek Lee (41, Ayala), Mark DeRosa (30, Perez)
HR - Aramis Ramirez (27, Ayala), Mark DeRosa (21, Perez)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (75), Derrek Lee (90), Aramis Ramirez 2 (111), Mark DeRosa 3 (87), Reed Johnson (50)
2-OUT RBI - Alfonso Soriano (25), Derrek Lee (21), Aramis Ramirez 2 (31)
SB - Ryan Theriot (22, 2nd base off Ayala/Castro)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Lee
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Zambrano 4.2355421 3.91
Neal Cotts 1.1000130 3.97
Kevin Hart (H,1) 1200000 6.84
Jeff Samardzija (BS,3) 1211210 2.33
Bob Howry (W,7-4) 1100220 5.19
Kerry Wood (S,34) 1000010 3.31
IBB - Chavez by Jeff Samardzija, Delgado by Bob Howry, by Beltran
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Zambrano 87-50, Neal Cotts 27-18, Kevin Hart 17-10, Jeff Samardzija 27-15, Bob Howry 26-12, Kerry Wood 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Zambrano 5-7, Jeff Samardzija 2-0, Bob Howry 1-0, Kerry Wood 1-1
Batters Faced - Carlos Zambrano 21, Neal Cotts 5, Kevin Hart 4, Jeff Samardzija 7, Bob Howry 6, Kerry Wood 3
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS5110114 .300
Daniel Murphy, LF4110111 .339
David Wright, 3B4111122 .300
Carlos Delgado, 1B4224102 .274
Carlos Beltran, CF3010200 .280
Ryan Church, RF5000025 .277
Brian Schneider, C2000000 .257
   a- Nick Evans, PH1000011 .262
    Ramon Castro, C2000015 .245
Argenis Reyes, 2B3010011 .218
    Brian Stokes, P0000000 .667
    Bobby Parnell, P0000000 .000
   b- Endy Chavez, PH0000100 .269
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
   c- Luis Castillo, PH1000000 .245
Oliver Perez, P1100001 .109
    Duaner Sanchez, P0000000 .000
   d- Marlon Anderson, PH0000100 .215
    Joe Smith, P0000000 .000
    Ricardo Rincon, P0000000 .000
    Ramon Martinez, 2B2011100 .333
Totals3768699  
a-struck out for Schneider in the 6th
b-was walked intentionally for Parnell in the 8th
c-grounded out for Ayala in the 10th
d-walked for Sanchez in the 5th
Batting
2B - Carlos Delgado (32, Samardzija), Ramon Martinez (1, Hart)
3B - Daniel Murphy (3, Howry)
HR - Carlos Delgado (38, Zambrano)
RBI - David Wright (123), Carlos Delgado 4 (114), Ramon Martinez (1)
2-OUT RBI - David Wright (51), Carlos Delgado 4 (44), Ramon Martinez (1)
SB - Carlos Beltran 3 (24, 2nd base off Cotts/Blanco, 3rd base off Cotts/Blanco, 2nd base off Samardzija/Hill)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Reyes-Delgado, Martinez-Reyes-Delgado
E - Daniel Murphy (1, Misplayed grounder)
New York Mets
Oliver Perez 4.1655561 4.25
Duaner Sanchez 0.2200000 4.32
Joe Smith 0.2100100 3.67
Ricardo Rincon 0.1000000 2.45
Brian Stokes 1311000 3.48
Bobby Parnell 1000100 1.93
Luis Ayala (L,2-10) 2333021 5.69
Pitches-Strikes - Oliver Perez 105-58, Duaner Sanchez 17-10, Joe Smith 18-11, Ricardo Rincon 4-3, Brian Stokes 13-10, Bobby Parnell 12-5, Luis Ayala 37-25
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oliver Perez 2-4, Duaner Sanchez 1-1, Joe Smith 1-1, Brian Stokes 2-1, Bobby Parnell 2-0, Luis Ayala 3-1
Batters Faced - Oliver Perez 23, Duaner Sanchez 4, Joe Smith 4, Ricardo Rincon 1, Brian Stokes 6, Bobby Parnell 3, Luis Ayala 9
Game Information
Attendance - 54416
Game Time - 4:04
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Jim Wolf, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Phil Cuzzi