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Cubs win wild one with Astros06/29/2004 10:59 PM ET
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Moises Alou got revenge on the ivy.
The Chicago Cubs scored two runs on an error by left fielder Craig Biggio, who muffed Alou's fly ball with two outs in the seventh inning, to defeat the Houston Astros 7-5 on Tuesday night.
"It's weird as heck out there in left," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "It's a twilight zone in the field."
Alou knows only too well. He knocked a ball into the ivy in the Astros' fourth, which led to two runs, but the Cubs rallied for their 21st come-from-behind win in front of a sellout crowd of 40,008 at Wrigley Field.
Corey Patterson hit a RBI double and a two-run homer, and Aramis Ramirez added a solo shot as the Cubs closed to 3 1/2 games behind Central leader St. Louis.
"We needed that game badly," Baker said.
Carlos Beltran gave Houston a 5-4 lead with one out in the seventh on his first home run since joining the Astros on June 24. Beltran hit 15 home runs with Kansas City before he was traded.
But Tom Goodwin doubled with one out in the Chicago seventh off David Weathers and scored on Mark Grudzielanek's single to tie the game. Grudzielanek reached third on Michael Barrett's single, which chased Weathers (5-4). Dan Miceli got Sammy Sosa to pop up, but Alou then lofted a ball to left that Biggio dropped, allowing two runs to score.
"I'm not going to make an excuse," Biggio said. "I should have made the play. Unfortunately, I didn't do it and it cost us the game. The guys battled hard, worked hard, and it's a disappointing loss. No one feels worse than I do right now."
This was only Biggio's fourth start in left. He moved from center to accommodate Beltran. No excuses.
"I ran over there and just didn't catch it," Biggio said. "And I should have. I don't know where it hit, honestly. It hit around the heel of my glove. I just didn't catch it."
"We got a break there," Alou said of the play. "Left field is not easy to play in the outfield. Catching, second base, center field, now left field -- I told (Biggio) before the game he's going to have to concentrate a little more."
Francis Beltran (2-1), no relation to Houston's Carlos, picked up the win, and LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
The Astros had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on Jeff Kent's two-out RBI single off starter Glendon Rusch. Patterson hit a RBI double in the Cubs second to tie the game.
Then it got interesting. Kent doubled to open the Astros fourth but came up limping after he rounded first and had to leave the game with a strained right hamstring. Morgan Ensberg hit a ball that Patterson nearly grabbed on the run in center field but bounced out of his mitt for a triple. Jose Vizcaino, running for Kent, scored on Ensberg's hit.
Adam Everett hit a ball to left that Alou fumbled, then deflected into the ivy-covered outfield wall. Alou signaled to the umpires that he lost the ball, and tried to dislodge it by kicking at the shrubbery. Ensberg and Everett both scored on the error to go ahead 4-1.
"I missed a ball and the ball went in the ivy and then I lost it and then I saw it and I knew I had no chance so I kicked it in the ivy," Alou said, unaware that by doing so, the ball was alive. If he hadn't touched it and the ball went into the ivy, it would've been a ground-rule double.
"I don't know any rules -- that's why I can't manage when I retire," Alou said. "It was bad acting because (the umpires) saw me kick it in there."
Baker and Patterson didn't know the rule either.
"It's good for (Alou) to know and for me and Sammy (Sosa) to know," Patterson said.
"They say if you're around the game long enough, you'll see everything," Baker said.
But the Cubs manager had never seen anything like that.
"It's like, man, what else can happen here?" Baker said.
Patterson pulled the Cubs within 4-3 with two outs in the Cubs' fourth with a two-run homer, his 10th.
Astros starter Andy Pettitte was making his first start since May 26, and gave up four hits and three walks over five innings. The lefty also struck out seven and left with a 4-3 lead. Ramirez tied the score at 4-4 with his 15th home run with one out in the Chicago sixth off Kirk Bullinger.
"We had a tough series against the White Sox -- actually we've had eight straight tough series," Alou said. "Every win we can get against these teams will be huge for us."
No matter how weird.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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