Wells outdueled by Wolf in loss to LA
Rookie allows two unearned runs; Cubs held to one hit
LOS ANGELES -- This one hurt.
Randy Wolf combined with two pitchers to one-hit the Cubs, and he delivered a two-run double to power the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory Friday night. Randy Wells' bid for his 10th win will have to wait.
"You know what, it gets painful watching this, it really does," Lou Piniella said. "It gets painful. That's a good word to describe it. It's a tough loss and Randy Wells pitched very well. Our relievers came in and got some big outs and gave us a chance. One base hit, one run doesn't get it done. That's all I have."
And with that, Piniella ended the postgame media session.
Ryan Theriot, who got the only hit off Wolf, an RBI single with two outs in the third, concurred regarding the team's pain threshold.
"It's hard to play in it sometimes, too," Theriot said. "You just have to stay positive and continue to work and you know things are going to turn around. It can't get any worse.
"This is a game where Randy [Wells] really threw the ball well and gave us a chance to win," Theriot said. "From an offensive standpoint, it's upsetting for me that we couldn't do more for him."
Wells (9-6) was vying for his 10th win, which would not only lead the team but make him the first Cubs rookie to reach double-digit wins since Kerry Wood won 13 games in 1998. In the past 40 seasons, only five Cubs rookie pitchers have won at least 10.
The young right-hander was victimized by a lack of run support and an ill-timed bobble. Wells gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out three over 6 2/3 innings.
The Dodgers' only runs came in the second, and both were unearned. They had one on and two outs when Orlando Hudson bounced a ball toward Aramis Ramirez, who muffed it for an error. Hot-hitting Wolf, coming off a three-hit game at Arizona, followed with a two-run double.
"You never want the pitcher to be the one to drive in the runs," Wells said.
Sam Fuld walked with one out in the Chicago third, and he scored one out later on Theriot's single to make it 2-1. Theriot was caught stealing to end that inning. Wolf then retired 10 in a row before Derrek Lee walked with one out in the seventh. That was it.
"He's got a lot of confidence," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Wolf. "Pitching is like hitting -- you get in a groove and you can't wait to get out there. He certainly has helped himself the last couple games with his bat."
The last time the Cubs were held to one hit was Aug. 31, 2005, when Derek Lowe did so with the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. Wells did walk two batters in the fourth, and said he lost his focus a little. You can count his mistakes on one hand. He didn't make many.
"My game plan was pretty much dead-on of what I wanted to do all day, which was be aggressive and attack the zone and I did that," Wells said. "That one inning [the second], I got a little too fine. You can say with runners on base, you knew Randy Wolf would swing on the first pitch, but I threw the same pitch to Manny Ramirez and he popped it up. Hindsight, 20-20, whatever, it was a bad pitch, he hit it, and drove in the runs and that's all they needed."
Speaking of Ramirez, Fuld robbed him of a potential home run leading off the Dodgers' eighth as the rookie center fielder made a leaping grab at the wall in right-center.
"I read it off the bat and knew it was going to be a close one," Fuld said. "I didn't know exactly where it was going to land, but I felt I didn't need to try to climb. I felt like if I could time it perfectly, that would be enough, and it was, just barely."
The only other good news for the Cubs was that St. Louis also lost Friday to San Diego, so Chicago remained seven games back in the National League Central. The club is now 10-16 against NL West teams and 3-12 on the road vs. the West.
In the ninth, Jonathan Broxton got Theriot to ground out and struck out Milton Bradley and Lee to end the game and pick up his 27th save.
"Obviously, it's a tough loss," Fuld said. "You hate to lose games like that. It would've been a sweet way to win to come back in the ninth. You have to give credit to Wolf. It was a heck of a game. It just seems to be the way things are going -- we're losing a lot of tough games."
Do the Cubs still have a chance?
"I think so," Theriot said. "We've got about 40 games left. Anything's possible. We haven't hit that hot streak yet. There's no reason to think we can't do it. If we come together and start scoring some runs, anything is possible. We've got three more games with St. Louis, so that's good."
That's not until Sept. 18-20. By then, it could be too late.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.